But after victory over Hartlepool United, Pardew told the Evening Chronicle: "Gabby Obertan, when he came on, looks in a lot better place than when he ended the season.
"Remember he started the season brilliantly, and he's doing that again.
"He's putting pressure on Jonas (Gutierrez) and Hatem (Ben Arfa).
"That's what you want. In the wide areas, we look very strong."