Sweetest feeling for Pardew on Selhurst return

Newcastle's Vurnon Anita tracks Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle
Newcastle's Vurnon Anita tracks Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle
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ALAN Pardew says he got the sweetest feeling at Selhurst Park.

Pardew spent the early part of his footballing career with Crystal Palace, and Saturday’s game meant a trip down memory lane for Newcastle United’s manager.

But the 52-year-old was most concerned with taking all three points – and his team didn’t let him down on the pitch he once graced as a player.

Newcastle dominated the game and denied Palace the ball amid a downpour in south London.

And they never looked back after taking a first-half lead through a deflected goal from Yohan Cabaye, restored to the starting XI after serving a one-game ban.

A own goal from Danny Gabbidon doubled their advantage before the break, and Hatem Ben Arfa capped a memorable afternoon for United – and especially Pardew – when he converted a late penalty.

“It was a sweet feeling for me to come back to a club that I love and see my team play like that,” Pardew said.

“We played very, very well. I love this club, and I love the fans here.

“I think they would have been impressed with us. For an away team, I thought we did very, very well.”

Pardew felt there wasn’t a weak link in his in-form team, which ended the weekend sixth in the Premier and six only points behind leaders Arsenal.

“It’s very difficult to pinpoint any player not in great form,” he said. “It’s making us a really strong side at the moment.”

While United’s form had raised hopes among fans that the club could again qualify for Europe, Pardew isn’t looking further than the Boxing Day home game against Stoke City.

“I’m not looking beyond the next game,” he said. “Stoke at home. A full house. I can’t wait.”