Alan Pardew has heaped praised on Newcastle match-winner Shola Ameobi, who he described as being made for the big stage.
The local hero scored a terrific goal 10 minutes from time to secure a crucial 1-0 win over QPR.
Ameobi appeared as a 60th-minute sub for the misfiring Papiss Cisse and proved his manager was right to turn to him in his hour of need.
Pardew, who confirmed Ameobi would not go to the African Nations Cup with Nigeria, said: “I know the crowd weren’t happy when I took off Cisse because he is a goal-scorer.
“I just felt that Shola is a big man and this was a big occasion – and he loves a big occasion.
“It may have said QPR at the front of the programme, but it was bigger than that.
“Shola is well aware of the demands here and he got on and won us the game.
“Demba Ba had three good chances from free-kicks and I wanted Shola on the park – and it was a good job I did.
“It was a class finish. He could have took it on his right foot, which is his stronger one, but he showed a lot of composure to shoot with his left.”
Pardew admitted that this win meant a whole lot more than the three points.
He said: “It is difficult for me as manager of such a big football club to express how important it was to win this game.