Remy gives Pardew a problem
7:13am Monday 24th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has admitted his hopes of signing Loic Remy permanently are receding with every goal he scores.
The France international returned from suspension to fire the Magpies to a vital 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa on Sunday, although he left it late to do so.
Remy's 12th goal of the season came in the 92nd minute at St James' Park and served as a timely reminder of the loan signing's potency, with other potential suitors also casting eyes over him.
Asked if every additional strike takes the frontman further from his grasp, Pardew said: "I think that's fairly obvious.
"He is going to be hot property. He is going to get a lot of press tomorrow and I am going to leave him out of the next 11 (games)."
Remy's last-gasp intervention came in the nick of time as he smashed home from close range in the second minute of added time at the end of the game after substitute Luuk de Jong's cross had been deflected into his path.
That would have come as a huge relief to him as well as well as his manager after he had hit the post with the goal at his mercy two minutes earlier.
Team-mate Papiss Cisse too will have been mightily pleased to see the ball end up in the back of the net after a dreadful miss at the end of the first half.
Pardew, who had gone into the game with the club having denied his reign could be over if he lost it, believed the game turned on a vital interception by central defender Mike Williamson as he cut out Christian Benteke's through-ball to spark the home crowd into life.
He said: "It was a strange game because our crowd was definitely quiet up until the interception from Williamson, and a strange thing like that lifted the stadium, lifted the players and suddenly we created three or four great chances.
"That's what this place is, it's almost like a breathing, living animal, this stadium, and we needed it to come alive. It did and it helped us.
"As a football manager, you are on 40 points - I think we have had a decent season. But the recent run put pressure on myself and the team, and my staff as well.
"I don't feel comfortable when my staff are under pressure. You can be very resilient as a manager, but I was uncomfortable for my staff this week.
"I was desperate to get them a result, and it was for them that I really wanted to get a win, and obviously our fans, who have had to be very, very patient at home."
It was Newcastle's first win in five attempts and their first on home soil since Boxing Day, with their previous five fixtures on Tyneside having all ended in defeat.
For Villa boss Paul Lambert, it was a case of what might have been as his side enjoyed a purple patch in the first half but failed to make the pressure tell.
Lambert said: "I thought we deserved at least a point out of it, especially after the first-half showing.
"I thought we were excellent in that first half. In the second half, Newcastle came at us strongly, but I don't think either team probably deserved to win the game.
"It's really disappointing and frustrating because I don't think we deserved to lose the game. But with 30 seconds to go, you have got to play the ball long.
"You can't take a chance in that situation and we got punished."