Pardew hails Magpies young guns
Alan Pardew was a happy man after seeing Newcastle extend their lead at the top of Europa League Group D with a 1-0 victory over Club Brugge.
Gabriel Obertan's 48th-minute strike was enough to establish a three-point gap over second-placed Bordeaux, who could only draw with Maritimo in Madeira on Thursday evening, at the halfway stage.
The Magpies will now head for Belgium next month - the game could prove a logistical nightmare with the club having been given only 1,470 tickets with thousands more fans having already booked to make the trip - knowing the completion of a double over Georges Leekens' men would all but confirm their place in the last 32.
However, that will be easier said than done on the evidence of a close encounter at St James' Park.
Asked if he would have settled for seven points from a trip to Madeira and home games against Bordeaux and Brugge, Pardew said: "Absolutely. We have got ourselves into a good position tonight. We knew we had a chance of getting seven points, and that really bodes well.
"We have got Maritimo at home, who have had a good result tonight, by the way, that's helped us too.
"We are going to need to grab something from one of those [away] games, and by the look of that Brugge game tonight, it's going to be difficult.
"They are a good side."
The game was 48 minutes old when Newcastle finally got their noses in front, but when the goal final arrived, it was worth waiting for.
Shola Ameobi, a half-time replacement for Vurnon Anita, flicked on to his younger brother Sammy deep inside his own half, and then looked on as the 20-year-old played himself into space with an outrageous piece of skill and surged upfield before laying the ball into the path of Obertan.
The Frenchman needed no second invitation and thumped a right-foot shot across keeper Bojan Jorgacevic and inside the far post.
Obertan's contribution proved enough to win the game, but not without a series of scares as the Belgians fought all the way to the whistle for a way back into the game with keeper Steve Harper having to make a fine save to deny Lior Rafaelov.
Pardew said: "We have approached this competition in the right manner and we have got our reward for it.
"We tried to attack the game, but Brugge are a good side. This was a tough game tonight. They have two or three outstanding players, so it's a big win for us, make no mistake.
"It was nice to see us squeeze past, because that's what we did, really. We just did enough tonight."
The win was all the more impressive because it was achieved without the services of nine of the men who started Sunday's derby draw at Sunderland with only full-back Davide Santon and midfielder Cheick Tiote retained.
The Ivory Coast international, who will miss the next three Barclays Premier League games as a result of his dismissal at the Stadium of Light, was clearly not himself and Pardew admitted the red card was on his mind.
He said: "I have no doubt in my mind, knowing Cheick, that he was affected by the sending-off on Sunday.
"You could see there was a lack of focus in his game, and probably because it was so soon after Sunday's game, I can emotionally understand that.
"He is hurt that he got sent off, trust me, no-one was more hurt on Sunday than Cheick."
Leekens left Tyneside disappointed, but with no complaints about his side's efforts.
He said: "It's not the result we were looking for, but I can't have any complaints about the performance."
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