ALAN Pardew admits match-winner Yohan Cabaye’s absence against Southampton will be a huge blow to Newcastle United.
A second-half goal from Cabaye gave the Pardew’s side a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Saturday, the victory the club’s first at Old Trafford in 41 years.
However, the midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season early in the game, and he will serve a one-game suspension when Southampton, Pardew’s former club, visit St James’s Park on Saturday.
“It’s disappointing to lose him for Southampton,” Pardew said. “It’ll be a blow not to have him.”
Pardew strengthened his midfield by bringing in Vurnon Anita, who came into the starting XI at the expense of striker Shola Ameobi in a tactical move.
And Cabaye, Anita and Cheik Tiote won their midfield battles.
With Cabaye got the headlines for his goal, Tiote, his midfield partner, was back to his combative best.
“It was tactical,” said Pardew. “We played with an extra midfield player, but you’ve got to utilise it.
“I felt that was an area we could boss, and we did. Anita kept the ball really well. I’ve got good players in the background, and I’ve got the confidence to put them in.
“Cheik and Cabaye dominated the middle of the park, I thought.”
Meanwhile, Man United manager David Moyes, under fire after a second successive home defeat, is adamant his ninth-placed team remains in the Premier League title race.
“When I came here I knew it would not always be easy, and it’s proving that way.
“There’s that period of transition, but we hoped it would not be quite as poor as it has been in the last few games.
“I stand firm that we will be very close to (the title race), and that we will be in and around it come the end of the season.”