Pardew pleased with Best and Ba

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed the men asked to plug the gap left by Andy Carroll after seeing Demba Ba plunder a hat-trick against Blackburn.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed the men asked to plug the gap left by Andy Carroll after seeing Demba Ba plunder a hat-trick against Blackburn.

The Senegal international’s claimed his first goals for the club after, in his manager’s opinion, finally shaking off the after-effects of fasting during Ramadan.

With Leon Best having passed up a series of opportunities to add to his three goals for the season, the fury which greeted the Magpies’ failure to sign a replacement for Carroll during the summer transfer window has started to recede.

Pardew said: “Let me just say, the investment we have had in the team, which has been significant in terms of the squad, is there for all to see – and we have still got Davide Santon to threaten this team and we have still got [Hatem] Ben Arfa, who had a little cameo today, so we are a strong side.

“My look at the strikers is, ‘Okay, prove to me that I don’t need to get one’, and I think they have taken that challenge on.

“Especially the two who played today played at a very high standard. They are not the most glamorous of names yet, but they did very, very well today.

“Demba has had a slow start here, mainly because of Ramadan in my view.

“But strikers thrive on goals and that confidence that Demba is going to get from those three goals here in front of the Toon Army will have done him a power of good.”

Ba chose the perfect moment to open his account with a fine 27th-minute turn and finish, but he was not content to settle for that.

He doubled his tally within three minutes with a close-range header, and then completed his hat-trick nine minutes after the restart despite Best’s efforts to get the decisive touch on the line.

Rovers boss Steve Kean was convinced Best had fouled Scott Dann in the process, and Martin Olsson was booked for his protests, paving the way for his dismissal 20 minutes from time for a trip on the former Coventry striker.

Kean, who spoke to referee Martin Atkinson after the final whistle, said: “I said to him, ‘Please look at it again, please look at the decision and give us your honest opinion’ because I don’t think you will see a clearer foul.

“It was a good back-post header and Scott was backing off and just about to head it off the line, and we felt that Leon – I know him very well and he’s aggressive – came over the top of Scott Dann.

“Scott was then pushed into Paul Robinson and it was not only a foul, but we also picked up a yellow card for Martin Olsson protesting against that goal.

“You can always tell by the reaction of the players, and not only our own players, but the Newcastle players. They all looked at the linesman and expected to see a flag go up, and it never came.”

In the meantime, Junior Hoilett had pulled one back for Rovers before the break, but they never looked like extending their run of five successive league wins at St James’ Park.

Victory extended the Magpies unbeaten start to the season to eight games in all competitions, their best since 1994-95 and cemented their place in the top four.

At the same time, it pushed the visitors into the bottom three and erased much of the optimism fostered by last weekend’s victory over Arsenal.

The sides will meet again at Ewood Park next month in the fourth round of the Carling Cup after today’s draw.

Pardew said: “It’s a tough game, but we could have been drawn against one of the top clubs, who are all still in it, away from home, so it’s not the worst draw we could have had, but it’s still a tough draw.

“Blackburn will be hurting from today and that’s going to make it even more difficult.”

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