Obertan earns Pardew's praise
Gabriel Obertan staked his claim for a starting berth as Newcastle eased themselves a step closer to the last 32 in the Europa League.
The 23-year-old Frenchman scored the only goal of the game as a much-changed Magpies side overcome Belgian Pro League leaders Club Brugge in a tight contest at St James' Park.
Former Manchester United man Obertan has had to remain patient, with compatriot Hatem Ben Arfa ahead of him in the Tyneside pecking order, but Pardew acknowledged he had done himself no harm with his latest European contribution.
He said: "He really hasn't done much wrong and at the minute, he is being kept out by our best player, Ben Arfa.
"He keeps pushing and pushing and it's a nice option for me - it's a bit frustrating for Gabby, but he can't do much more.
"He's only 23, that kid, and he was brilliant tonight."
Obertan was not the only youngster who responded to the challenge of being thrown into the heat of continental battle, with 20-year-old Sammy Ameobi playing the starring role in the build-up to the goal and full-back Shane Ferguson further enhancing his blossoming reputation.
Pardew said: "I was a little bit disappointed that I couldn't get Adam Campbell on to the pitch because in him, Sammy, Bigi [Gael Bigirimana] and Fergie, we have got four players there who are going to threaten this first team.
"Make no mistake, young Adam has been pushing for a place and was probably unlucky not to feature tonight. We are looking strong, and we have got to make sure those players evolve.
"We have got great senior players, who are setting the right example. They have got nothing really to complain about.
"They have got the perfect foundation here for them to come and be Newcastle players, and the challenge lies with them.
"They have had a little obstacle tonight and they have come through it very well."
Obertan's sweet 48th-minute strike settled a tight encounter in which both sides created chances but failed to take them.
The goal was worthy of the victory, with Shola and Sammy Ameobi combining superbly before the younger brother slid a pass into the Frenchman's path and watched him apply a decisive finish.
But Brugge fought all the way to the whistle and but for a smart save from 37-year-old Steve Harper to deny Lior Rafaelov and a late block by Steven Taylor to keep out substitute Ivan Trickovski's effort, they might have left Tyneside with something to show for their efforts.
Pardew said: "I can't fault the guys, they have been excellent in every game. We have tried to approach it with a smile and energy, and we have done that, and again tonight.
"I enjoyed the game. It was a good tactical game. The [Brugge] manager [Georges Leekens] was very clever, he mixed their team up a little bit and caused us some problems."
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