St James' Park, Newcastle

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Pardew praises clinical side

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was thrilled with his side's firepower in the 5-1 win over Stoke, but was unhappy with their first half.

Last Updated: 27/12/13 at 08:57 Post Comment

Alan Pardew: Delighted with clinical Newcastle

Alan Pardew: Delighted with clinical Newcastle

The home side went one goal down through Oussama Assaidi's excellent opener, but an incredible first half culminated with two Stoke men - along with Potters boss Mark Hughes - being sent off by referee Martin Atkinson.

Loic Remy's deflected effort put Newcastle in on level terms at the break, perhaps undeservedly. The numbers game certainly showed in the second half, however, as Pardew's men scored four goals without reply to record a Boxing Day hammering.

The 5-1 scoreline was perhaps flattering on the home side however, and Pardew admitted that his side were not good enough in the first half.

Talking to Sky Sports, Pardew said: "The team wasn't quite working as I'd liked, and I was looking to change it at half-time.

"The sending offs changed it.

"We were as clinical as you could be in the second half."

Pardew was full of praise for his hard-done-by opponents, too, who were well worth their lead before a string of debatable decisions from Atkinson.

"To be fair to Stoke, they did very well in the first period.

"I was disappointed Stoke took the lead, and they had a good footing."

With half-time looming and Newcastle one goal down, the game turned on its head with two late red cards, as well as opposition manager Hughes being sent to the stands.

The first, Glenn Whelan receiving his marching orders for two bookings, was the most debatable, with his first booking for a foul on Moussa Sissoko more than questionable.

While he had sympathy for Stoke as a whole, Pardew saw why referee Atkinson decided to show Whelan the two yellow cards, however.

"He gets sent off for two silly incidents, and I don't think he has much to complain about.

"Then they're down to nine and really struggling, and we were clinical after that.

"I thought the first booking was arguable, which was maybe what Mark (Hughes) was upset about. The second one was definitely a yellow.

"The first was probably 50-50."

The heavy win saw Remy and Papiss Cisse both break long goal droughts for Newcastle, and Pardew was delighted with the firepower on offer.

"We've got a lot of attacking options, which was nice.

"It was difficult for Stoke, and I have a lot of sympathy for their players. They were very professional, a credit to the game.

Controversy reigned after Remy opted to take the first penalty instead of designated taker Yohan Cabaye, before having his spot-kick saved by Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen.

Pardew was unhappy with his French striker for that decision, but praised him after he gave up the chance of completing a hat-trick to give Cisse the ball to take their second penalty in the second half.

"We had words about the penalty, as Loic shouldn't have taken the first one, Yohan should.

"In the second half the game was probably won by then, so I wasn't that involved in the decision.

"The team made the decision, which was a nice one."

Newcastle now face a daunting task against league leaders Arsenal on Sunday, with their impressive league form set for the biggest test yet.

"This place will be rocking, and Arsenal know that. It's a difficult game for both of us, so let's see how we match up.

"We have depth and a lot of quality, and we're working very hard. We're difficult to beat.

"Our fans want to win things, which we haven't been near for years. It's nice to have a team which is competitive."

On the injury front, Pardew insisted that "we're all good", despite a late knock to defender Massadio Haidara

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