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Pardew hails 'priceless' Cisse goal

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has described Papiss Cisse's injury-time winner at home to Fulham on Sunday as "priceless".

The striker's finish, three minutes into time added on, gave the Magpies a 1-0 win and a five-point gap to the relegation zone.

It took them to 13th in the Premier League table and eased the pressure after an afternoon on which they had dominated looked set to end in goalless frustration.

"It was a big moment, there's no doubt about that," Pardew said. "We all know the pressure we were under - that was evident in the first half. We actually looked tired.

"Someone like myself, who knows the financial implications [of relegation], the implications on spirit and the implication on the feelings of the fans, for everyone involved, it's a precious goal and you couldn't put a price on it, you really couldn't.

"I can't underline how important the win is. The extra two points is very important. The spirit in the group was very evident. We just had to find a way to win it. We did it."

The manager said he had felt "sheer relief", adding: "I was carrying all the stress of how important the game was."

Pardew's side face a crunch north-east derby against Sunderland - who are out of the relegation places on goal difference alone - next weekend, and the manager said Hatem Ben Arfa could return from a hamstring injury.

Ben Arfa has missed chunks of the season through injury, with the Europa League tie against Anzhi Makhachkala his most recent involvement.

Pardew told the Chronicle: "He thinks he is now 100%, and we are now treating him as that.

"There could be a cameo as soon as Sunderland. It would be a massive bonus for us, but it is still too early to call."


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