Monday, January 14, 2013
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew praised his defenders for securing a first Premier League clean sheet away from home this season – while deflecting questions over the future of skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
The Argentine centre-back is reported to have told the Magpies he wants a move back to his homeland, but he gave a polished performance to help his side to a goalless draw against the Canaries, and only their seventh point in 12 league games.
“I think coming here is a difficult place,” said Pardew. “Norwich are very, very efficient at set-plays and crosses into the box and I thought we defended really well.
“Our keeper was excellent. He had to come and collect a few crosses and relieve the pressure. We looked tighter as a team and that is very important going forward for us.
“For us it was probably a more favourable result than Norwich because they are the home team. It was two teams who worked really, really hard and restricted the opposition to few gilt-edged chances. It was that type of affair. For us it was important to get a clean sheet. It was a tense game with both clubs on a difficult run and you couldn’t fault the application. We had to show our fans we were up for the fight and we certainly did in no uncertain terms.”
Asked about the 30-year-old Coloccini’s future, he said: “We’ll speak to him this week and we will resolve that situation. That is all I am going to say on that. We’ll keep that internal because it is our business.
“I thought he played well today and it was nice to see the reaction of the fans because he is an important player. I don’t want to go too much into that. We’ll sit down this week and I hope iron out any issues. He was excellent and probably of the four centre-halves on show he was the most assured. He gives us that calmness in the heat of the battle that you need at this level.”
France international full-back Mathieu Debuchy made his debut, adding to Pardew’s multi-national line-up.
“I thought he realised the Premier League is about 30mph faster after about 10 minutes, and then he settled down,” said the Newcastle boss.
“We didn’t really want him to be too expansive today but next week at home he’ll have a little bit more freedom to go forward and you will then see what a quality player he is.
“I thought him and Pilkington today, that was a good tussle. I know you can look at the game and say it was a bore draw or whatever but there was a lot of really tough play out there and some good performances from both teams.”