ALAN Pardew hailed his jaded players - and Newcastle United’s fans - after the club’s 1-0 win at Hillsborough.
Ayoze Perez’s second-half strike gave Pardew’s jet-lagged team a hard-fought win over Sheffield Wednesday last night.
Pardew had opted to leave a number of his senior players behind on Tyneside, with the squad having only arrived back from a two-game tour of New Zealand late on Monday afternoon.
Teenagers Lubomir Satka and Adam Armstrong were handed starts at Hillsborough, where the players wore black armbands in memory of Sir Bobby Robson, who passed away five years ago today.
And there was also warm and repeated applause from both sets of fans for United supporters John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who died on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over a disputed area of eastern Ukraine a fortnight ago.
The much-loved pair had been travelling to New Zealand to watch their beloved team play in the Football United Tour 2014.
Despite the weakened team, the club was backed in South Yorkshire by almost 2,000 travelling fans.
Pardew felt his side - which had withstood intense first-half pressure from the home team - acquitted itself well.
“It was a tough one,” said Pardew. “We brought a very young side.
“We only got off the plane two days ago, and it was a great effort. We really put in a fantastic commitment.
“And the fans were brilliant. It was a good night for us. We beat a very strong team.
“We just used the guys that didn’t go to New Zealand. The two guys that didn’t come - (Gabriel) Obertan and Cheik Tiote - were excellent. That’s good for us.
“We had a really strong work ethic and a third clean sheet.
“We made a lot of changes. I’m really pleased with that.”
The next leg of Newcastle’s pre-season campaign sees the team take on Malaga and Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, over the weekend.