Newcastle United moved clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone after on-loan Brazilian winger Kenedy scored twice and Matt Ritchie added another in a 3-0 home win over struggling Southampton on Saturday.
The result left Newcastle 13th on 32 points from 30 games while Southampton are 17th on 28 points having won only one of their last 17 Premier League fixtures.
Kenedy, who was loaned to Newcastle by champions Chelsea in January, opened the scoring in the second after controlling a looping Jonjo Shelvey pass with his chest and turning superbly to beat visiting keeper Alex McCarthy.
He made it 2-0 in the 29th after a superb breakaway move as Ayoze Perez raced clear from his own penalty area and laid the ball to Dwight Gayle, who squared it to Kenedy for a simple tap-in from close range.
Ritchie scored the third shortly before the hour with a crisp low show from 20 metres as Newcastle celebrated their first win in eight Premier League games against the Saints.
Having scored his first goals for the Magpies, Kenedy also became the first Newcastle player to bag a brace at St James’ Park this season, with the home side missing several chances to win by an even bigger margin.
Shelvey, who played despite not being fully fit, received a standing ovation when he was substituted in the closing stages and said Newcastle needed to show more consistency in the home straight of what has been a patchy season.
“We’ve got the character in the team to grind out results, but today showed our quality as well,” Shelvey told the BBC.
“We’ve not done that enough this season.
“I thought I played well. Probably shouldn’t have because of my knee but it killed me last week to not play against Liverpool, so I had an injection to play and I am always willing to play through the pain for this club.”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic, Editng by Ed Osmond