Alan Pardew was delighted with Moussa Sissoko after the France international scored twice on his Newcastle home debut to seal a 3-2 win over Chelsea.
The Blues responded to Jonas Gutierrez's header with efforts from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata but Sissoko struck twice, including the winner in the 90th minute, to seal a stunning victory for the Magpies.
"The whole team was magnificent," Pardew told reporters. "But Sissoko - it would be silly to ignore the fact that he announced his presence in the game, not just with his technical ability but with his power. "It's something that has been sadly missing from the team and I don't really need to say too much his performance spoke for itself.
"As well as Sissoko today, [Yohan] Cabaye too. It was nice to have our intelligence back in the team, when to go long, when to go small, when to keep the ball, when to go at the opposition. I actually thought he was outstanding today.
"They [the fans] know a good player when they see one and he didn't just give us the goals today, he gave us more than that.
"I remember seeing him at Toulouse about 14-16 months ago. There's only two players I've seen that I was desperate to get here. One was Cabaye and one was Sissoko and we've managed to do that, fantastic players that they are."
Sissoko's winner capped an enthralling afternoon on Tyneside and Pardew believes that the tie was the best clash he has seen this term.
He added: "It was undoubtedly the game of the season, I don't think we're going to better that between now and the end. It was a fabulous game. When you play the top sides it's important to knock them off their stride and show no fear and put them under pressure.
"We did that really well first half, I was really, really pleased with that performance, we got a goal when perhaps we should have scored earlier through Papiss [Cisse] but we got the goal.
"Chelsea came out and showed why they've got fabulous players, we really struggled there for 10-15 minutes and [they scored] two unbelievable goals.
"Usually when you get goals like that, it knocks the stuffing out of a team and they fold and you go on to win, but we wouldn't let that happen, we had an intelligence about us today, we stayed in the game and got a break away and got back in the game."
Demba Ba had an unsuccessful return to Tyneside, being forced off in the first half with a broken nose after a challenge with Fabricio Coloccini, but Pardew insists he has not dwelt on his former player’s departure.
"Teams do move on," he explained. "This team's had Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, blimey it's difficult to move on from players of that sort of quality.
"Demba came and did a great job for us but he's moved on and new stars emerge."
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