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Football | Barclays Premier League

Pardew hails Gael's 'Bigi' impact

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew hailed the impact of goalscorer Gael Bigirimana in their 3-0 win over Wigan on Monday but said the Burundi-born 19-year-old should not even be in the first team yet.

A Demba Ba double gave Newcastle a 2-0 lead before substitute Bigirimana scored his first for the club with a spectacular, curling left-foot effort from 20 metres.

The win ended a run of four straight defeats in the English Premier League for Newcastle, who have tied Pardew to an eight-year contract in the hope of bringing stability to the north east club and building on last season's fifth-place finish.

Pardew told Newcastle's official television channel that the win was a "big lift" for the club, who are currently 14th in the league and just five points above the drop zone.

"The pressure was building, we had a lot of criticism which I thought was unfair and we've had to accept that, and yet our fans were with us tonight from the off," he said.

"We were all over Wigan, we wouldn't let them settle and we deserved to take the lead."

Senegal striker Ba put Newcastle ahead in the 13th minute with a crisply-struck penalty after Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa was sent off for bringing down Papiss Cisse in the box.

Ba made it 2-0 eight minutes later when he pounced from close range after Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi parried Davide Santon's fierce 25-metre drive.

Bigirimana saved the best for last, bending the ball into the top corner in the 71st minute.

Bigirimana, who grew up in war-torn Burundi and lived in Uganda before following his mother to England in 2004, signed from Coventry City in July.

Pardew said 'Bigi' had a bright future, though he had only got the opportunity to play on Monday due to Newcastle's current spate of injuries.

"I don't think he's ready though and he shouldn't be playing in this team if I'm honest," added Pardew.

"He should be playing in our under-21 team, but we are in such a place that he gets an opportunity and you would like to think that he will take that.

"He did more than that - it was a fantastic goal and something he will treasure for the rest of his life."


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