Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has called on the fans and media to unite behind the club after their shock 2-0 win over Chelsea.
The build-up to the St James’ Park fixture was marred by off-the-field issues after the club banned a series of local newspapers for what they deemed to be excessive coverage of a protest march against controversial owner Mike Ashley ahead of the match against Liverpool last month.
Newcastle’s fans have protested against Ashley at regular intervals during his six-and-a-half-year stint at the club, but Pardew has called on everyone to pull in the one direction following Saturday’s triumph.
Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy scored in the last 25 minutes as Newcastle won just their second home match of the season, delighting Pardew.
“We have got great spirit in the group. I think we’ve played well,” Pardew told BT Sport.
“We are together and this win is for Mike Ashley and all our Newcastle fans. Trust me, he is a fan. I’m pleased for the club.
“We’ve had to make a stand for the local press – we want them to be with us. I’m pleased for everyone associated with Newcastle.
“In the last few games, we’ve been playing well. We proved that today. Sometimes you don’t get breaks but we did here.”
Gouffran’s opener – scored in the 68th minute – came after he nodded in Yohan Cabaye’s excellent free-kick.
The goal came despite Chelsea controlling the first half, and was the turning point, as Newcastle went on to add to their lead.
Pardew said he had always planned for his side to sit back in the opening stages, and was pleased that their strategy had paid off.
“He (Cabaye) has got a fantastic shape on that shot he hits. He hit that exactly on the money and Gouf (Gouffran) was brave,” he added.
“Because we had exerted so much energy (against Manchester City in the League Cup) in midweek, we decided to be cautious from the start.
“We maybe let them have too much of the ball. But in the second half we knew we could exert pressure and the crowd would get behind us. That’s what happened.”