Nolan urges all parties to move on

BY foxsports • December 12, 2010

The Magpies catapulted themselves into the national headlines once again on Monday when owner Mike Ashley decided to dispense with the services of manager Chris Hughton and replace him with Alan Pardew, to the fury of players and fans alike. But they ended the week with a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Liverpool which brought an uneasy peace to the city, for the time being at least. The anger of fans who have spent much of Ashley's three and a half years protesting against his decisions is unlikely to abate fully for quite some time - and for some, not at all. However, Nolan, one of the first to speak out about the decision to sack Hughton, admitted the nature of football dictates that things move on. He said: "Even Alan said after the game, 'I know a lot of it was for Chris, I know a lot of it was for yourselves to prove to a lot of people' because we want to get away from that 'Loony Toons' tag, we want to get away from everything being up in the air at Newcastle. "We want to stay away from that part of the game. We want to just focus on our football and let that do the talking, and we did on Saturday." That Pardew's team - or more accurately, the one he inherited from Hughton - was able to go out and do just that against Liverpool was testament to the spirit they retain within the dressing room. That was helped in no small part by managing director Derek Llambias stepping into the firing line ahead of kick-off to explain the events of the previous few days, something neither he nor Ashley have done in public. Nolan told BBC Sport: "It would have been tough for him to walk in because he knew how tough it was, but he came down, fair play to him, and told us the reason. "We will get on with it and that's it. We had our say, he had his say. We shook hands and now it is all about Newcastle United because we all want the same thing." Pardew was nowhere near the fans' choice to replace Hughton, even for the minority who had few arguments with Ashley's decision, but he escaped the tide of abuse which assailed the directors' box at regular intervals. The famously thick-skinned Ashley did not bat an eyelid, although events on the pitch kept a crowd of 50,137 enthralled for much of the 90 minutes. Newcastle could hardly have got off to a better start when, with 15 minutes gone, Andy Carroll out-jumped Sotirios Kyrgiakos to head down Joey Barton's free-kick for Nolan to fire home his eighth goal of the season. Carroll and Barton were to prove key figures with the 21-year-old England striker out-shining Spanish counterpart Fernando Torres with a typically abrasive individual display, while Barton's craft repeatedly stretched the Reds, although he did become involved in an unnecessary spat with Torres at one point. Liverpool dragged themselves back into the game five minutes after the restart when Dirk Kuyt's shot was deflected past keeper Tim Krul by Steven Taylor, and Roy Hodgson's side briefly threatened to over-run their hosts. However, Torres came second in a one-on-one showdown with Krul and it was the Magpies who snatched back the initiative as time ran down. There were 10 minutes remaining when Carroll headed on Krul's clearance and substitute Nile Ranger made a nuisance of himself to allow Barton to steal in a poke the ball past Jose Reina. Liverpool rallied once again but with four minutes of stoppage time well under-way, Carroll was allowed time and space to set his sights on goal 25 yards out and a left foot missile brought him his 10th goal of the season and sparked mass celebrations. Pardew said: "The noise level was something I have only experienced in cup finals, if I am honest." Liverpool have won only one of their nine Premier League away games to date this season and lost six, and Hodgson admitted that is a growing frustration. He said: "Confidence is a factor because the longer you go without winning away from home, the more that plays upon your psyche and confidence. "But also, we didn't produce a good enough performance to win away."


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