Newcastle boss Alan Pardew had no problem with his players dedicating his first victory to predecessor Chris Hughton on an eventful day at St James' Park.
Joey Barton set up a precious 3-1 win over Liverpool with a goal 10 minutes from time and later told ESPN: "The king is dead, long live the king. It was a tough week. We were all disappointed to lose Chris. He was a great man and everyone has said how dignified he was and how much of a gentleman he was."
But Pardew insisted Barton's comments were understandable, and said: "One hundred per cent, and we talked about it afterwards. I have worked with Chris and he can feel very, very unfortunate that he is not sitting here now."
He added: "But we all know this game is not easy and can be cruel at times. I had a very similar issue at Southampton. But I was conscious that when I left Southampton, they lost three games, so I really wanted to focus the team today.
"It was very, very important, whoever the manager was, that they represented themselves and the club in the right manner, and they did that and more."
Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll were the other scorers for the Magpies with Dirk Kuyt replying for Liverpool.
Pardew's men leapfrogged the Reds into eighth place on 22 points, just two shy of the top six, and put a smile on owner Mike Ashley's face when the two men met briefly after the final whistle.
The manager said: "I popped up to see him to say hello. He was obviously pleased with the result because it's not been probably the best week he has ever had.
"But the win today was really about the players because they showed their spirit and their unity out there and they made it easy for me just to add a couple of things.
"But a lot of the good things that went on today was stuff that has been going on here all year."
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