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Misfiring Magpies must find better balance - Ba

STRIKER Demba Ba has admitted Newcastle need to find the right balance between defence and attack to turn their season around.

The Senegal international's 11th goal of the season sparked a spirited fightback against champions Manchester City on Saturday, but counted for nothing as Roberto Mancini's men claimed a 3-1 victory at St James' Park.

Alan Pardew's side has now lost six of its last seven Premier League games, a run which has seen the club slip to within two points of the relegation zone. And with a difficult run of fixtures ahead, Saturday's visit of QPR to Tyneside is assuming ever greater proportions.

However, Pardew and his players will take the positives from their second-half assault on City and the former Hoffenheim frontman is convinced it will not be long before they are back to their best.

Asked about the reaction of the fans, who applauded the Magpies off the pitch, he said: "We have put in some good performances in the last three or four weeks, but unfortunately, we just keep losing.

"We have to find the right balance between attacking and defending to stop conceding goals and start scoring even more."

Newcastle got off to a promising start, but the game changed with 10 minutes gone when Yaya Toure split the home defence and Samir Nasri turned the ball into the path of Sergio Aguero, who slid it into the unguarded net.

City doubled their advantage six minutes before the break through Javi Garcia's header, but when Ba powered Fabricio Coloccini's 51st-minute cross past Hart, the home side were back in the game.

However, Yaya Toure made sure 12 minutes from time when he turned home Pablo Zabaleta's pull-back.

Newcastle are now nine points adrift of fifth place, which secured their return to European football at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

Pardew said: "From now until January, it's going to be a dogfight. We have got to accept that and dog our way out of it and make sure we beat QPR, and then hopefully get something at Manchester United."