Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said their last-gasp 2-1 win over Stoke City will prove imperative to their survival hopes.
Despite seemingly safe for the 2013-14 season in the Premier League side, Pardew’s men were only six points clear of the drop when they welcomed Tony Pulis’ tough club to St James’ Park.
And after conceding first at home via a Jon Walters penalty, Newcastle showed tough mettle to fight back via a brilliant Yohan Cabaye free-kick and a Papiss Cisse winner – catapulting them nine points above the bottom three with nine games to play.
“It was a very important win for us, because it jumps us right up the Premier League and gives us a chance to attack the top ten,” Pardew told Sky Sports.
“But we were fortunate in some ways, Stoke came here and were excellent today and that was as good a defensive display as you will see.
“They stopped us playing and made it very difficult and we kept plugging away, asking different questions and in the end it was a pass through the eye of the needle from (Sylvain) Marveaux that got us the goal.”
Pardew reserved further praise for Marveaux, who not only delivered the pass for the winning goal but more than held his own in the centre of the park, and also endorsed defender Steven Taylor for international duties in the near future.
“The team has done well in his absence and he is knocking on the door and he sparked us in that last little bit and it was massive,” he said.
“Stoke were a threat all afternoon from set plays, they are giants and you have to be big and strong which we were and I thought Steven Taylor was England standard today. It is a brilliant win for us – a massive win.”
Defeated manager Pulis said Stoke ‘shot themselves in the foot’ after giving up a second-half lead.
The gaffer went on to add he felt match-winner Cisse should have been sent off for a shove on Marc Wilson and Ryan Shawcross.
“The second, I am not so sure Papiss Cisse should have been on the pitch, I know he scores but he raised his hands and caught Marc Wilson and Ryan Shawcross,” he said.
“But that is the way it is going for us and we are really disappointed and sums up our season away from home, where we have played really well at times and should have taken points and this is another game we have taken none from.”