ALAN Pardew says Jonas Gutierrez deserved to be Newcastle United’s match-winner after a return to form at St James’s Park.
The winger scored deep in injury time to book the club’s place in the FA Cup’s fourth round.
Gutierrez’s strike gave Newcastle a deserved 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.
The 28-year-old played a one-two with Leon Best before deftly lifting the ball over a helpless Mark Bunn in the visiting goal.
Gutierrez’s strike lifted the roof at St James’s Park, and booked a fourth-round tie away to either Brighton and Hove Albion or Wrexham.
The goal was the ninth of Gutierrez’s Newcastle career, and he celebrated by donning his trademark Spider-Man mask.
Pardew told the Gazette: “I didn’t even see the second goal – everyone was jumping up and down – I just saw it plop in the net.
“He deserved that goal, because I think he had a little dip, if I’m honest, three or four weeks ago.
“He’s been outstanding. He’s got back to his best in the last two or three games. He’s a big bonus for us.”
Pardew was also heartened by another classy performance from Davide Santon, now settled at left-back after his move from Inter Milan last summer.
“Davide and Jonas were brilliant in the second half,” added Pardew.
“I don’t think there’s many teams that can cope with them coming down that side, and their energy.
“They did it against Man United, and they did it agin. I was really, really pleased.”