ALAN Pardew has defended his handling of Jonas Gutierrez at Newcastle United.
Gutierrez is set to return to Tyneside next month to resume his football career.
The 31-year-old has been given the all-clear after treatment for testicular cancer.
Gutierrez was critical of United manager Pardew in an interview in his native Argentina.
The long-serving winger said he would “never forgive” Pardew for telling him to find a new club last December – just 20 days after he had undergone surgery.
Asked about Gutierrez’s comments, Pardew today said: “It was a pure football decision, and those are decisions that have to be made.
“We’ve supported him and tried to do what we can when his illness was made known to us, before it was known publicly.
“What he has done is absolutely marvellous, to recover like he has.
“We’re very proud of what he’s done. He needs to rest assured it was purely a football decision.”