Alan Pardew spoke of his pride at seeing Rickie Lambert score his 100th goal for Saints.

Pardew signed Lambert for Saints for £1m and the striker himself has acknowledged how much the now Newcastle boss has done for his career.

He has gone from strength to strength even without Pardew and became just the tenth post-war Saint to reach a century of goals for the club against his one time manager at St James’ Park.

With Newcastle winning the game 4-2, Pardew could afford a beaming smile when asked by the Daily Echo about the striker.

“Absolutely (there is a sense of pride),” he said. “He had only been with me six weeks and I said to him ‘you could play in the Premiership.’ “I don’t think he really believed me if I’m honest.

“I said it in a kind of strange way as I knew he’d want more money so I said ‘the next couple of years you could get there.’ “He was brilliant. He’s a real handful.

“I put him above (Grant) Holt personally. No disrespect to Grant Holt but I think Rickie’s got more about him and he’s proving that.

“100 goals is a fantastic little milestone for him.”

Pardew insisted he held no grudges against the club who controversially sacked him in August 2010 and foresees no problems whatsoever in Saints retaining their Premier League status.

“Whenever I’ve left clubs I’ve never carried any bitterness or anything like that,” he reflected.

“I know coaches and managers that do and I think it spoils them so I don’t really feel that way.

“I was pleased that the players that I signed played well and the ones that I’ve worked with and I was pleased for their manager because he’s got a lot to be proud of.

“He was probably disappointed but he’s got a good team there and I don’t see any problems for them.”

Pardew is now looking onwards and upwards for his side for the rest of the season.

“It was a very important victory because of our positions in the league and Southampton’s position in the league,” he said.

“The quality of the opposition should not go underestimated – they were every bit as good as Chelsea and Metalist and they should take that going forward.

“I spoke to a few of the players that I know after the game and I thought they were excellent. We had to be at our very best to win.

“You look at the league table and we have now put ourselves in a position to attack tenth and that was the importance of the victory.

“It wasn’t about anything else for me and that’s how I tried to get the players’ mindset.

“I said after we should attack the top ten now and we can with this team.

“It’s a considerable difference to six weeks ago with the players coming back from injury and the new players, you can see there is a kind of assurance about us and we played with a real calmness and didn’t panic.

“At 2-2 we rode a tough period and that bodes well for us going forward.”