ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United’s 3-2 win over Chelsea rivals anything he’s experienced in his managerial career.
Pardew started in the dugout at Reading 14 years ago.
And never in that time has he experienced a game quite like that which unfolded at St James’s Park on Saturday.
After taking a first-half lead through Jonas Gutierrez, Newcastle went behind to goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata after the break.
But a remarkable comeback – and two goals from home debutant Moussa Sissoko – saw United claim three points and pull away from the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Pardew said the game was as good as the 2006 FA Cup final, in which his then-team – West Ham United – were eventually beaten on penalties.
“It was the best game I’ve ever seen as a manager,” Pardew told the Gazette. “Obviously, in the cup final we had the 3-3 against Liverpool.
“It was at that level, trust me. That was a real game of football. The Chelsea team were determined to turn round the situation.
“It was their best team. (Branislav) Ivanovic back in at right-back, and (John) Terry in the team.
“It took a real, proper performance from us to get a win against them.”
Pardew now feels he has the strength in depth to give any team a game, as underlined by Newcastle’s performance against the European champions.
“When you play the top teams, it’s very important to unsettle them, and we’ve done that,” he added.
“Man United and Arsenal – we unsettled them. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough power and pace in the team, and enough squad players to come on and see it through.
“Even (Sylvain) Marveaux’s 10-minute cameo, which was outstanding, gave us a lift.
“They’re the things we’ve missed this year – having players of that ability come off the bench.
“He was very unlucky not to start, but I was glad I started with the team I did.”