ALAN Pardew says his Newcastle United players were the ultimate warriors against Crystal Palace.
Pardew’s side won 3-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday to stay sixth in the Premier League ahead of their Boxing Day fixture against Stoke City.
A deflected from Yohan Cabaye, an own goal and a late penalty from substitute Hatem Ben Arfa saw Newcastle comfortably record their fifth away win of the season.
The game was played amid a torrential downpour at a windswept Selhurst Park.
And Pardew felt it was the “warriors” in his side - Fabricio Coloccini, Mathieu Debuchy and Cheik Tiote - who built the platform for the victory against his former club.
However, Tiote’s performance came at a cost, with the midfielder picking up a one-game suspension for his fifth booking of the season.
With Palace having adopted a more direct approach under new manager Tony Pulis, Pardew was anxious for his team to control possession and limit the balls aimed into his team’s box.
“It was a different performance from us against a team that make it difficult for you if they keep putting it in your box,” Pardew said.
“You’ve got to control the game and control possession, and we did that brilliantly.
“Although our flair players will get the headlines, it’s our warriors that did the most for our victory. Coloccini, Debuchy, Tiote - they were immense.”
Pardew brought back Cabaye - who had served a one-game ban - into his team at the expense of striker Shola Ameobi, who came off the bench and won the penalty converted by Ben Arfa.
And United went on to control the game for long spells after taking the lead in the 25th minute.
“We had a game plan to try and take the sting out of the pressure they exert on you, and we couldn’t have done it any better really,” added Pardew.
“The players were very accurate with their passing, and we looked comfortable almost from the kick-off, but you still need great players to play well and we had some outstanding players out on the pitch.
“I thought Coloccini and Debuchy were outstanding in their positions.”