Pardew: Brilliant night for Best

BY foxsports • January 6, 2011

The 24-year-old, who had not scored in 14 previous appearances for the Magpies, deputised more than ably for the injured Carroll and Sunday's match-winner Shola Ameobi to help fire the club into eighth place in the Premier League table. Pardew later revealed that Best had only discovered he would be starting this morning after Ameobi withdrew with an ankle problem. He said: "Leon had been knocking on my door for the last two weeks telling me he hasn't really had an opportunity. "I spoke to him and said, 'You have been here a year and there are no assists, no goals - what is there for us to keep about you?'. "He kept telling me he could do it, and he has proved that. He had an opportunity, somewhat fortunately, because he wasn't due to start. "He has a good cameo at Wigan and he was definitely going to come on at some stage, but Shola pulled out. "I called him with the news about 10.30am and he couldn't wait, I could tell on the phone. It was a brilliant night for him and he deserves it." It was perhaps fitting that Best's heroics came on the day that it emerged that Newcastle had had to fend off an inquiry from Tottenham for highly-rated England striker Carroll, although Pardew is adamant he will not be leaving Tyneside this month despite Harry Redknapp asking him personally about the youngster when the teams met in north London last month. He said: "We have given the answer to anyone who has contacted us that he is not for sale, it's as simple as that. "Harry hasn't rung me and made an inquiry directly. We had a conversation after the game, briefly, about some of his squad who might be of interest to me. "He asked me how good Andy was and I said, 'He ain't bad', and that was it. "But whether there has been a connection above me, as yet I don't know. "I can't say to you strongly enough that Andy Carroll will not leave this football club in this window, 100%." Best, without a senior goal since January 12 last year before he left Coventry for Tyneside, finally opened his account 18 minutes into his 15th appearance for the club. Peter Lovenkrands' ball over the top was perfectly-weighted for him to volley left-footed past keeper Robert Green to get the Magpies off to the perfect start. He collected his second six minutes before the break, once again with a helping hand from Lovenkrands, whose intelligent run was picked out by Joey Barton to allow the Dane to cross for his strike-partner to fire home. Kevin Nolan added a third on the stroke of half-time after James Tomkins could only divert Jonas Gutierrez's cross to him, and then set up Best to complete his hat-trick on the hour. Lovenkrands deservedly got his name on the scoresheet three minutes later to make it five, and the Magpies could even afford a glaring miss from substitute Nile Ranger as they romped to victory. Defeat - their first in five league games - sent the Hammers back to the foot of the table, but manager Avram Grant is confident they will bounce back from a disastrous night in the north east. He said: "I don't like the game, I don't like the performance, I don't like how we played, but in football, that happens. "Sunderland lost here 5-1 and afterwards, they have won many games, so it happens. "It was a bad day at the office. Everything we tried to do was not good - not the desire, not the effort, not passing the ball well, putting pressure on the other team. "But those are things we did very well in the games before, so we need to continue."


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