ALAN Pardew paid tribute to Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul’s heroics at the back – after Papiss Demba Cisse’s efforts up front claimed a point at the Liberty Stadium.
Cisse grabbed the headlines with his two goals in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
Alan Pardew’s winless side twice came from behind in South Wales.
However, the contribution of Krul was just as significant as that of fit-again striker Cisse, making his first Premier League start of the season.
The 26-year-old denied opening goalscorer Wilfried Bony with two near-identical saves.
“At 2-1, Bony has connected with a cross, and Tim has made a fantastic save. I think that will go in his top five,” said Pardew.
“It was that good. His weight was going all the wrong way, and to be able to reach that was a big lift for him, because everyone needs confidence.”
United’s defence has been found wanting so far this season, and Krul has been left badly exposed at times.
While Krul was heartened with the character shown by the team on a difficult afternoon, he had been looking for a bigger return.
“I’ve got mixed feelings if I’m honest, because I thought we could have snuck it at the end,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, it was great to come back, but we can’t just be happy with a point because we should be fighting for spots in the top 10.
“Some people might have taken a point before the start of play away from home at a team like Swansea, but not me – I’m more ambitious than that.”
Krul – who famously came off the bench for a penalty shootout in the summer’s World Cup in Brazil – has linked up with his Holland team-mates ahead of Euro 2016 qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Iceland.
SAMMY Ameobi’s Newcastle United future is looking brighter – after a darker period at St James’s Park.
The forward’s career at the club looked to be in the balance a few weeks ago.
Ameobi looked set for a loan move in the last year of his contract, but injuries to Siem de Jong and Rolando Aarons opened the door for him.
And the 22-year-old – who had an injury-interrupted pre-season – now finds himself back in the first-team squad.
Ameobi came off the bench to set up Papiss Demba Cisse’s second goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
With United trailing the hosts 2-1 as the hour-mark approached, manager Alan Pardew turned to Ameobi ahead of summer signings Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere.
And Ameobi, told to get balls in the box, took his chance by delivering a fine cross for Cisse.
“I think Sammy has looked bright,” said Pardew.
“We’re really hoping the penny has dropped with him because he has got such talent.
“He produced that on the Premier League level, and now we’ve got to see more of that this season.
“I’ve been talking about him for a long time without him really delivering.
“This season he looks better than any time I’ve seen him. Hopefully, he can have a big season for us.”
Ameobi – whose elder brother Shola left St James’s Park in the summer after a long career on Tyneside – made his debut for the club almost three and a half years ago.
But he has found his opportunities limited in recent seasons.
And Pardew admitted recently that Ameobi – who had a loan spell at Middlesbrough the season before last – was “running out of chances” at the club.
For his part, Ameobi – who has played for England’s Under-21s – knows he needs to play regularly to have a chance of following in his brothers footsteps and representing Nigeria at senior level.
Ameobi has scored two League Cup goals for United.