Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has warned any player looking to join a “bigger” club to think twice.
Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique, who both left Tyneside for Liverpool, were taunted by Magpies fans on their return last Sunday as their former club secured a 2-0 win which took them 11 points clear of the Reds in the Barclays Premier League table.
That gap became 13 points over the weekend after Kenny Dalglish's men were only able to manage a home draw with Aston Villa while Newcastle won 2-0 at Swansea.
Writing in his programme notes ahead of today's home clash with struggling Bolton, Pardew said: "I took no satisfaction from seeing our former players Andy and Jose enduring a difficult day as they were fantastic for us during their time at this club.
"But maybe this season has changed a few perceptions and sent out a message to players tempted by offers to join so-called bigger clubs in the Premier League.
"Newcastle have proved time and again over the last few months that we can compete with big-name clubs like Liverpool, and maybe it will encourage players to think again if they dare to believe the grass is greener elsewhere."