JOEY Barton might have let his frustrations get the better of him in the build-up to Birmingham City’s visit to St James’s Park.
But Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was always confident the midfielder would let his feet to the talking on the field on Saturday.
Pardew revealed after the 2-1 win that Barton had been deeply frustrated in the wake of the club’s defeat to Liverpool six days earlier, something which was evident at the training ground as they prepared for their penultimate home game.
However, Pardew always believed he would channel his emotions in the right way once he was back on the field.
The 28-year-old’s passing was the difference between the two sides at times, and it was from a Barton corner that Steven Taylor headed what turned out to be the winning goal.
“Joey inparticularly has been frustrated himself in the build up to the game,” Pardew said.
“He channels his frustration sometimes in the wrong way, but he wants to win, and you have to admire him for that.
“He made things happen and his crossing was bang on the money. Even when they closed him down, he kept on putting Danny Simpson in on the overlap.
“There were also a couple of through balls that were on the money too – he was outstanding.
“He was the best player – I can’t say any more than that.”
Barton and his team-mates will again have to be at their best if they are to take anything from Sunday’s visit to Chelsea.
However, their task might have been helped by Premier League leaders Manchester United, who yesterday ended Carlo Ancelotti’s second-placed side’s interest in the title with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
“We are going to need another three points, maybe four or maybe six, to get that top 10 slot,” Pardew went on.
“That’s what we will focus on between now and the end of the season.”