Gutierrez salutes Pardew

Newcastle manager tipped to be named manager of the season

Jonas Gutierrez: Wore the captain's armband during Newcastle's 2-0 win over Liverpool

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Alan Pardew is a strong contender to be crowned manager of the season, according to Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez.

The South American skippered the Magpies to a deserved win over an out-of-sorts Liverpool with two strikes from Senegal goal machine Papiss Demba Cisse.

The result kept Newcastle level on points with Chelsea and with an outside chance of securing a UEFA Champions League place, while moving them a whopping 11 points clear of Liverpool in eighth.

Top six

"If you look at the results he's got, and if you think of the expectations before the season started, nobody would have expected Newcastle to be in the top six," Gutierrez told the Shields Gazette.

"The fans didn't even think that here. He's doing a great job here.

"He was last year as well, but we have to keep doing a great job here. If he got manager of the year, it will be a proud moment for him and for the players."

It signals a remarkable turnaround for Pardew at the club after his unpopular appointment following the controversial sacking of fans' favourite Chris Hughton.

Relations with the fans suffered further when iconic striker Andy Caroll was sold to Liverpool for £35million along with Gutierrez's close friend Jose Enrique.

But Carroll looked a shadow of the man the fans remembered and was even booked for diving in the first half while Enrique ended the game in goal after Pepe Reina saw red late on for head-butting James Perch.

Gifted

Pardew, however, has quietly gone about his business in a dignified manner and has masterminded the club to one of their best seasons since the heady days under Kevin Keegan and Gutierrez believes he deserves more credit for the job he has done.

"It's amazing," said Gutierrez. "Back then, it was a surprise that Chris didn't stay. The fans enjoyed watching the team under Chris, so it meant Alan came here under a difficult situation.

"But he has focused on his job, and done really, really well. He's got a gift, and he can work well during difficult times.

"When you throw in that it was made hard for him in pre-season when a lot of players left, it makes it an even better job."