Pardew sorry for push

Newcastle boss delighted with spirit; Ben Arfa receives glowing praise

Alan Pardew: The Newcastle manager has apologised for being pushing a referee's assistant

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Alan Pardew has apologised for pushing a referee's assistant which resulted in the Newcastle United manager being sent to the stands in the victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

The St James' Park boss was banished from the touchline on Saturday's opening game of the new Premier League season after placing his hands on linesman Peter Kirkup.

Pardew's frustration came at a second-half decision not to award a throw-in to his side and he was immediately directed to the stands by referee Martin Atkinson.

After the match, the Newcastle manager was embarrassed by the incident, particularly after reminding his players in the build-up to the game of the need for correct behaviour and asking them to replicate the Olympic spirit which had been on show in London this summer.

"It was ridiculous, really," laughed Pardew to ESPN. "I have to apologise publicly and I have gone to see him (Kirkup) already.

Pardew apologises for pushing linesman

Plead

"He was right in front of me and I thought the ball was out and shoved him.

"There was me pleading to all of my players this week to behave, follow the Olympic spirit. And then I let myself down. I can only apologise."

Newcastle were perhaps fortunate to pick up the 2-1 win over Tottenham having been dominated for the majority of the match.

But Pardew thought a tactical switch of moving Demba Ba to the left at half-time worked as the striker scored before a Hatem Ben Arfa penalty sandwiched Jermain Defoe's equaliser.

"It shows that first game of the season, it is that character and spirit that can win you through," said Pardew.

Dig in

"We had to dig in. Spurs were without doubt the best team in the first half.

"But we decided to change at half-time, tactically, and we put Demba on the side and kept our goalscorers on the pitch and that made the difference."

Pardew also praised the efforts of Ben Arfa and believes the Frenchman is continually learning about life in the Premier League.

Asked if the forward has his work cut out in keeping a regular first-team place, Pardew said: "It is not going to be a big ask, because the guy is an exceptional talent. But what he has done is grasp what we are about."