LONDON (Reuters) – Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew praised his French contingent after the relegation-threatened side moved six points clear of the drop zone with a 4-2 Premier League victory over Southampton on Sunday.
Newcastle signed five Frenchmen in the January transfer window and the influx has helped deliver three wins in their last four league games to drag them up the table and away from danger.
Newcastle fans were celebrating ‘France Day’ at their St James’ Park stadium with supporters encouraged to wear berets and red, white and blue to welcome their new recruits.
Two Frenchmen were on the scoresheet for the hosts on the day with Moussa Sissoko scoring his third goal since arriving from Toulouse and Yohan Cabaye netting a penalty.
"The French players were terrific," Pardew said on Sky Sports.
"The English players were very good, too. But the new arrivals have put us in good shape. Six weeks ago we certainly wouldn’t have beaten Southampton. But now we look like a different team."
Mathieu Debuchy, one of Pardew’s January signings, praised the club for organising the special day.
"It was a good initiative taken by the club to do that and we came away with a victory at the end of the day, which was fantastic," the defender told the club’s website (www.nufc.co.uk).
"To be honest, we didn’t just need that – we just needed the thought of moving up the league to get the motivation – but it was a nice thing."
Newcastle, who began the day level-pegging with their opponents, moved up to 14th in the table while Southampton are two places adrift.
The north-east England club, who finished a surprise fifth place last season in the top flight to seal a Europa League berth, progressed to the last 16 on Thursday where they will play big-spending Russians Anzhi Makhachkala.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Tom Pilcher)
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