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The Magpies manager paid tribute to his Dutch goalkeeper's good form in a tight back five, although he admits he has concerns over injuries that have blighted defensive unit

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has hailed the form of goalkeeper Tim Krul, who has been ever present in a defence that have conceded just 15 Premier League goals all season.

The Dutch international made several saves in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea, winning many one-on-one duels and stopping a Frank Lampard penalty after 13 minutes, in a match where the Magpies should arguably have been a man up after David Luiz brought down Demba Ba as he was through on goal.

“I think Tim ­probably feels absolutely ­brilliant, the way he’s played,” Pardew told The Mirror.

“But to have three goals conceded against his name, blimey, that must hurt, too. So part of him will be hurting and part of him should be very proud. He was our best player.”

Krul appears to have won the battle for the place as first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Steve Harper, who appeared in parts during last season but has yet to feature this term.

Pardew has no regrets over this decision, adding: “He’s had to back up the ­judgement we made on him at the start of the season, but he’s done it. He’s been brilliant.”

The goalkeeper’s form is one of the few positives in defence ahead of the Magpies’ next match away to Norwich, with Steven Taylor having suffered a potentially season-ending Achilles injury at the weekend, and Fabricio Coloccini unlikely to recover from a thigh strain in time.

The Toon boss acknowledged the situation, commenting: “The injuries are our biggest concern now as we look ahead. Steven’s is a bit of a worry, Colo has a thigh strain, we hope it doesn’t tear, so obviously we’ll have to scan them to find out how serious they are.”

The Argentine defender was replaced by James Perch on Saturday, but with Mike Willliamson still recovering from an ankle injury, the team are desperately short at centre back. Cheick Tiote’s effective performances shielding the defence from midfield may also be missed as he is out injured.

However, Pardew drew some positives from the tough run of three matches his side have now completed, which has included trips away to both Manchester clubs.

“We’ve been a bit unfortunate in these three games, we’ve not had our best squad to pick, and yet I still look at my team and they’re competitive,” he said.

Of Saturday’s game against Chelsea, he added: “There’s a big feeling of ­disappointment about this game. I felt there were a lot of positives to come out of it, with the team we ended up with at the end. We are really short [of players].”

He continued: “We go to Norwich and the next three games are winnable for us. We’ve got to approach those, with the players we’ve got ­available and try and win them.

“And if we try and win them we could find ourselves back in the top four and that’s what we want to try and do.”

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