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The Newcastle player salutes his boss for leading the club to one of their best campaigns in years and believes him to be a strong contender for manager of the season

Newcastle defender Jonas Gutierrez believes that Alan Pardew is a strong contender to be crowned manager of the season.

The Magpies’ 2-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday saw them draw level with Chelsea in the Premier League table, just five points behind Tottenham in fourth spot, despite finding themselves in the Championship only two years previously.

And the Argentine insists that Pardew deserves the credit for masterminding the club's exceeding of their expectations.

AS IT STANDS...


3. Arsenal
4. Tottenham
5. Chelsea
6. Newcastle
7. Everton
Played

31
31
31
31
31
Points

58
58
53
53
43
GD

+21
+20
+17
+4
+0

"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."

The former Southampton coach did not get off to the best of starts on Tyneside, with the fans dismayed at his appointment following the controversial sacking of local favourite Chris Hughton.

Disappointment amongst supporters was further fuelled by the departures of striker Andy Carroll and defender Jose Enrique, who were both sold to Liverpool.

But Pardew got his head down and went about his business of leading the club to their best season since the successful days under Kevin Keegan, and the Argentina international hailed his success.

TOON ON TOP?
12/1
Newcastle are 12/1 with Sportingbet to finish in the Premier League top four

"It's amazing," Gutierrez enthused.

"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."

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