Tiote apologises for derby debacle
Published 02/02/2014 | 13:52
Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote has apologised to the club's fans after suffering the worst day of his career against Sunderland.
Saturday's 3-0 derby defeat at St James' Park, the second in succession the Magpies have suffered at the hands of their arch-rivals, left the Ivory Coast international on rock bottom.
Alan Pardew's men now face the task of attempting to bounce back at Stamford Bridge at the weekend as they look to complete an unlikely double over Chelsea, and even that would go only some of the way towards saving Tiote's pain.
The 27-year-old said: "All I can say to them [the fans] is sorry for this defeat again because we cannot accept that.
"It's two seasons now we have been beaten by Sunderland at home and this is the worst, worst thing in my career, so I just want to say sorry to them.
"That's football, we need to focus on the next game now."
Newcastle began life without star man Yohan Cabaye - and perhaps more pertinently, without the replacement Pardew had insisted he needed after owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear failed to land either Clement Grenier or Remy Cabella - in depressing fashion.
Without the Frenchman's invention, they created little of note and with leading scorer Loic Remy also missing through suspension, the scraps which did come their way went begging.
They fell behind with just 19 minutes gone when Fabio Borini converted a penalty following Vurnon Anita's trip on Phil Bardsley, and Sunderland never looked back.
Adam Johnson's seventh goal in as many games arrived just four minutes later after goalkeeper Tim Krul could only parry Jack Colback's deflected shot, and Colback wrapped up the victory 10 minutes from time with another emphatic finish.
Supporters already furious at Cabaye's sale and the lack of transfer activity thereafter were apoplectic by the time the final whistle sounded with one having earlier made his way onto the pitch to berate Pardew at close quarters.
The 52-year-old later stoically avoided any criticism of the men above him, but that did little to calm the storm surrounding the club after a third derby defeat in a row for the first time since 1923.
Social media sites were awash with condemnation of the regime on Saturday evening with the Mike Ashley Out Campaign - the organisation's title needs little explanation - urging opponents to unite in a show of force.
Pardew, however, was simply concentrating on the task of finding a way to deal with Cabaye's departure.
He said: "It hurts us all. Don't think because we are not Geordie, it doesn't hurt us. We know how much it means to our fans. It's a shocking day for them and a shocking day for us.
"Really and truly, we have to go back to basics about how we are going to play because with two key players out - and if you put Colo [skipper Fabricio Coloccini] in that, three - in terms of how we score goals, we are going to have to find a different way."
In the wake of a 2-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light on October 27, the Magpies went on to win in five of their next six Barclays Premier League fixtures, a run which included victories over Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
Asked if they could respond in similar fashion this time around, Pardew said: "The fixtures are a lot tougher, I'd be very surprised if we can do that.
"But certainly a reaction, to have a bit more - have the fight, yes, for sure, but have the composure to play, which deserted us today."
Tiote too knows a trip to Chelsea may not represent the ideal opportunity to attempt to repair the damage of a poor, poor day, but he and his team-mates will travel hoping to do just that.
He said: "It's going to be hard, but we have got a chance. We have some good players in the squad, so if we do the right things, we have a chance to win.
"It's going to be tough because Chelsea are a good, good, good, good team. But if we do the right things, we have got a chance to win."