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Better late than never from Remy as pressure eases on Pardew
Final Score: Cardiff City 1 Newcastle United 2
THEY say good things come to those who wait and after arriving six months late, Alan Pardew’s patience in landing Loic Remy continues to pay off.
Newcastle’s failure to sign a prolific striker in January almost cost them their Premier League status and probably Pardew his job when they avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth.
The Magpies boss thought he’d pulled off a major coup in the winter window when he met Remy to agree terms over a move to Tyneside, but a last minute offer from Queens Park Rangers proved too good to turn down and Newcastle were left without the goalscorer they so badly craved.
Now, though, Pardew has his man – at least for the time being – and after a promising start to his St James’ Park career, Remy continued his goalscoring form with a match-winning double at Cardiff City.
The French striker scored twice in the first half to seal the Magpies a crucial three points and ease the pressure on his manager after a week of speculation surrounding his future.
Rumours that Pardew had offered to resign in the wake of last Monday night’s defeat to Everton were quickly followed by whispers he was about to be sacked, but the Magpies boss came out in a defiant mood in south Wales with a little help from his latest French acquisition.
Remy’s brace made it five goals in three games for the 26-year-old and if that sort of form continues, Pardew will be desperate to secure his services on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
The way things are going, the French international’s goals could prove to be the difference between Newcastle struggling or progressing this season and Pardew admits he is relieved to finally have Remy at his disposal.
“I wish Remy had signed for us in January! I still remember the night clearly when we thought we'd done the deal for him,” Pardew revealed. “I had a nice glass of wine and we'd had a hearty handshake then the next day he wasn't there.
“Sometimes in life you have to wait though - and if you wait long enough it comes around. We're really, really glad to have him. He was really good - not just his two goals but his work-rate. Everything he did was competent.
Cardiff City’s Fraizer Campbell, left, tussles with Fabricio Coloccini
“It was a clever finish [for his second goal]. I actually was surprised he took the option that he did. It was a real striker's goal, he just slid it and it was inch perfect. “The first goal was important because we should have scored before we did. That could have knocked our confidence but that was a really important goal and I thank him for that.
“He's a player who is on our books at the moment and we're pleased to have him but at the moment he's a QPR player.
“It was interesting to see Harry's comments saying he probably won't be coming back. We'll have to see what happens.”
Remy’s opener came on the half hour mark when he collected the ball on the halfway line and advanced forward. The striker had the options to pass, but he decided to go on his own, cutting in before unleashing a low drive inside David Marshall’s near post.
After back-to-back defeats, there was huge pressure on Pardew going into Saturday’s game but the Magpies boss took a huge risk by dropping the influential Hatem Ben Arfa.
It was a decision that could have backfired, but Newcastle didn’t need him on Saturday. They had Yohan Cabaye.
The midfielder appears to have finally put the summer’s transfer speculation behind him as he turned in his best performance of the season, which included a superb pass to Papiss Cisse in the build up to Remy’s second.
It was another fine finish from Newcastle’s man of the moment, who reacted with finesse to squeeze a first time shot into the bottom corner after Marshall had parried the Senegal striker’s effort.
Hatem Ben Arfa, left, fends off a challenge from Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson
“I am really enjoying it,” said Remy, when asked about life on Tyneside. “I was happy to see Newcastle come back to me so now it is down to me to do the best I can for the club because they came back for me.
“When I came here everyone was happy, the fans and the manager. I am a striker so I have to score goals for everyone.
“I don’t have a target. But I am ambitious so I want to do more. My record is 17 goals in one year so if I can do more that would be great.
“I am a striker, I know my quality. I try every week to score, I work hard in training in front of goal to have precision. It is good for me and the club and we are winning games.
“What happens next I do not know. I am just focussed step by step. For the moment the question [about staying beyond end of season] is not in my head. We have time and I will go game by game. It is a good question but right now I am not focussed on that.”
Saturday’s win lifted Newcastle up to 11th going into the international break and Remy admits he was pleased to ease the pressure on his manager.
He said: “He (Pardew) is very close to me, he speaks to me a lot when he feels I am not concentrating in training so for me he is a very good manager and I think I can progress a lot with him.
“Every game we have pressure, that happens, but I am very happy for him and for us. We have a win and I hope we can continue to work quietly.”
Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse, right, competes for the ball with Cardiff’s Ben Turner
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