ALAN Pardew’s admitted his decision to leave Vurnon Anita out of his Newcastle United side was “tough” on the midfielder.
In-form Anita was relegated to the bench for Saturday’s game against Cardiff City.
The decision surprised fans given the 24-year-old’s form.
But manager Pardew felt he needed more “power” in his side to combat Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel, nicknamed “the Pitbull of Seville” during his time in Spain.
And he started with tough-tackling Cheik Tiote, who put in his best performance of the season so far in a 2-1 win for Newcastle at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“It was tough on Vurnon,” Pardew said.
“He’s a player who can move the ball.
“He’s shown he can play at this level, in this team and for this club.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t get the nod.
“But I felt we needed a bit more power on the pitch, especially away from home.
“And Cheik, Moussa (Sissoko) and (Yohan) Cabaye were really good.”
Anita, pictured, joined United from Dutch club Ajax last year, but he found his Premier League opportunities limited as he adjusted to the demands of English football.
However, Pardew promised him a greater role this season.
Meanwhile, Pardew kept faith with left back Davide Santon, who has been put under pressure by former Academy player Paul Dummett.
Santon and right back Mathieu Debuchy have struggled for consistency so far this season.
But the pair’s performances heartened Pardew.
“They were a lot better, both of them,” he said.
“When you look at players, you can almost see consistency from one or two individuals can take the team up a level.
“Davide needs to get more consistency. Mathieu does as well. Moussa does.
“If we can get that consistency, we’ll have a good season.”