After watching Loic Remy score Newcastle United's first post-Yohan Cabaye goal, Alan Pardew has joked he may keep the striker hidden from potential suitors.
The France international is on a season-long loan from Queen’s Park Rangers.
His injury-time winner against Aston Villa yesterday took his tally to 12, twice as many as the next highest scorer left in Newcastle’s squad, Yoan Gouffran.
Manager Pardew is acutely aware he has a fight on his hands to sign the 27-year-old permanently.
Every goal he scores for the Magpies will make keeping him more difficult.
“I thought Remy was the one player to have that composure to score that goal,” commented Pardew after yesterday’s nervy 1-0 win. “He was the best player on the pitch.
“His all-round game was terrific. The game seemed a little bit slower when he was on the ball, not as frantic. The high-class players like him can slow a game down.
“He is going to be hot property this summer and I will leave him out of the next 11 (matches).”
Newcastle went into the game having failed to find the net in the four matches since Cabaye was sold to Paris Saint-Germain.
Remy created an excellent chance Papiss Cisse missed in first-half added-time, then hit the post after 88 minutes. So it was a massive relief when he scored the game’s only goal in the second added minute of the second half. Pardew felt his side deserved the win which took them to 40 points – the generally-accepted target for Premier League survival – for their character, if not their quality, in a disappointing spectacle.
He added: “I gave us six out of ten but what got us there was ten out of ten for effort and commitment for the cause.
“We created that chance and it was a fabulous goal for Remy.
“It was a strange game because our crowd was deathly quiet up until Mike Williamson’s (79th-minute) interception and that lifted the players and the stadium.
“This stadium is like a breathing, living animal and we needed it to come alive to help us.
“The recent run has put pressure on my staff and my team. I don’t feel comfortable with that.
“I was desperate to get a result for my team and our fans, who have had to be very patient at home. We have not been very good at home since Stoke.
“I thought the media had been a little bit miserable this week. Two stories were definitely aimed to put me under pressure.
“There is pressure enough in this job without stories which were untrue.
“So it was a bit of a smile to them, cheer up and let’s move on.
“I would like to think we can now show more composure around the box.
“Players were doing things around their box which they shouldn’t have been doing.
“You hear managers talking about momentum and there will be a huge difference around the training ground. They can be a little bit calmer.”
Almost as important as breaking their goalscoring duck was a clean sheet after conceding ten goals in the last three games, all lost.
Fabricio Coloccini was making his first appearance since New Year’s Day but the manager was more impressed by central defensive partner Williamson.
He said: “Willo was fantastic against (Christian) Benteke, he was outstanding.
“If we had drawn 0-0 I would have been raving about our defensive display.
“Colo had a few balls down the channels where he wasn’t comfortable. He only trained for eight or nine days but his presence was everything.
“There were a lot of erratic people on the ball, but not him because he never gets in that mode.”