The blizzard of barbs and counter-barbs surrounding Andre Villas-Boas has been intensified, as Alan Pardew advised the Chelsea manager to be "a bit more respectful and a bit more honourable".
The Newcastle United manager, speaking after his side had lost 4-2 to Norwich City on Saturday, was responding to Villas-Boas's comments after Chelsea's 3-0 win at St James' Park last weekend. Villas-Boas had said Pardew was "making a big scandal" over David Luiz's non-dismissal at the start of that game.
Pardew believed that Villas-Boas had not been quite as magnanimous as he might have been, given favourable refereeing decisions: "When you have a victory it's nice to be a bit more respectful and a bit more honourable in saying: 'Well OK, we won the game, but decisions went our way.' That's what I did at Manchester United [when Newcastle were awarded an unlikely penalty]. It would be more honourable of him if he'd accepted that Luiz should have got sent off like the referee did."
While Pardew accepted that Villas-Boas, whose side hosts Manchester City at Stamford Bridge tonight, had yet to settle into English customs, he did believe there was room for improvement. "The guy is new to our country, he's new to our press and I think he's under a bit of pressure and I think maybe he could throw a little bit more respect at it."
The Newcastle manager had just seen his side, shorn of all specialist centre-backs, concede from three Steve Morison and Grant Holt headers: "We certainly should have been more competitive when the ball was delivered regardless of not having a centre-half." Pardew was confident, though, of having Fabricio Coloccini back for Saturday's game with Swansea.
Demba Ba, who scored two excellent goals, was confident that Newcastle could win their first game in five next weekend. "We'll do everything to win the game because we need a win," he said, before offering some useful advice to teams soon coming to Carrow Road. "They just need to put the bigger lads on the pitch and they will be fine."
Possibly unfair, but the size advantage Holt and Morison had over stand-in centre-backs Danny Simpson and James Perch was the decisive factor. All four Norwich goals came from crosses or set plays.
"There's no magic formula," said the Norwich manager, Paul Lambert, afterwards. "The lads have got to want to go and do it themselves, they're the ones that play the game. Morison and Holt are terrific in the air, they were a handful."
Both Holt and Morison have taken a long route to the top flight: Morison was playing non-league football until he left Stevenage for Millwall in 2009, Holt left League Two Shrewsbury for Norwich that year too. "It's just phenomenal the way those two lads are doing it," said Lambert, "they've done it themselves."
Holt agreed that these backgrounds provided a basis for hard work. "It runs through the team," he said. "A lot of lads, no matter where they have been, have had the setbacks. A lot of us realise we are very lucky to be picked."
Scorers: Norwich Hoolahan 39, Holt 59, 82, Morison 63. Newcastle Ba 45, 71. Substitutes: Norwich Johnson (Surman, 77), Barnett (Whitbread, 83), Jackson (Hoolahan, 85). Newcastle Sammy Ameobi (Obertan, 81), Smith (Shola Ameobi, 90), Ferguson (Santon, 90). Booked: Norwich Crofts, Fox, Hoolahan. Newcastle Sholoa Ameobi, Gosling. Sent off: Newcastle Gosling (66).
Man of the match Hoolahan. Match rating 8/10.
Possession: Norwich 50% Newcastle 50%.
Attempts on target: Norwich 11 Newcastle 8.
Referee M Atkinson (W Yorkshire). Attendance 26,816.Reuse content