DELIGHTED Alan Pardew hailed Moussa Sissoko as a “force of football” and claimed the January influx of talent has prompted the return of Newcastle’s “inner belief”.
Sissoko’s pair of goals helped United to notch their second win in consecutive games and prompted a delighted Pardew to hail the “best moment of the season” so far.
The midfielder’s performance warranted hyperbole, and even though Pardew was trying to keep his and the team’s feet on the ground, he had huge words of praise for a player he has been tracking for more than a year.
“The game I first saw Moussa in was 14-16 months ago and I walked away that night wanting to get him there and then,” he said.
“I don’t want to say too much about him, because his performance speaks for itself and it doesn’t need me to give a sound-bite because he’s going to get enough headlines, but he’s just been like a giant, that’s all I can say, in training and in everything, the way he’s carried himself.
“He’s a real force of football. It’s only two games in and hopefully we’re saying the same thing in the summer, because those Chelsea players we came up against are top, top players – Oscar, Lampard, Mata.
“They’re fabulous players and we had players out there who looked every bit as good as them and that’s a great lift for us.”
Pardew feels that his new Gallic talent has promoted an “inner belief” in his players and said that the character of the likes of Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy and another impressive debutant, Yoan Gouffran, had really impressed him.
“(Yoan’s) an established player, a French Under-21 player, look at his history and he’s always scored goals at big clubs in France.
“And, again, a real good character. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. Players tell you ‘Yes, he’s a good character, he’s this and that’.
“We asked Cabaye what they’re like, but you never know until they walk in. And they’ve been outstanding. All of them who have come in, really nice characters.
“And one thing that’s important, that nobody has asked me about, was evident today: the stereotypical view that French players lack fight isn’t true. We were 2-1 down today and up against it. We showed a bit of fight. So hopefully that buries that one.”
The job of integrating the new stars has also required the club to employ the services of an interpreter, Jean-Paul Ndoumin. Pardew joked that the Frenchman might be angling for his job after spotting him on the lap of honour afterwards.
“He said to me ‘Do you want me to do the interviews?’ I said ‘No that’s my job!’” Pardew laughed.
“I did actually ask the French boys if he was taking the mickey because he was better than me! I saw a couple of them laughing. I don’t know if he’s expressing a bit more than what I’m saying in my team talks, but it seems to be working and we like him.