Friday 20 April 2018

Home comforts eluding Pardew

Damian Spellman



Alan Pardew was digging in for a scrap last night after seeing Newcastle slip to a second successive Premier League defeat at St James' Park.

Six days after succumbing tamely to West Ham, the Magpies were largely outplayed by Swansea before slipping to a 2-1 defeat which left them in the bottom half of the table, a far cry from last season's high-flying heroics.

With striker Papiss Cisse missing because of a wrangle with the Senegal Football Federation, Fabricio Coloccini suspended and Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye injured, Newcastle were once again woefully short of inspiration as they failed to break down the well-organised victors until the death.

"You have to understand that in a managerial career at any football club, you are going to have some times when things don't go for you," a philosophical Pardew said.

Newcastle were undone by two second-half strikes, but they could have few complaints about the result as the visitors more than made a game of it.

Michu's well-placed 58th-minute header – his eighth goal of the season – from Pablo Hernandez's cross set the ball rolling, and they secured the points with three minutes remaining when keeper Tim Krul could only parry substitute Danny Graham's shot and Jonathan de Guzman rifled the rebound home from a tight angle.

Demba Ba, who had squandered a series of earlier opportunities, headed home from close range – also his eighth of the campaign – after substitute Sylvain Marveaux's shot had come back off the bar, but there was to be no late salvation.

"Of course it's a concern, you don't want to lose and home game and we have lost two on the trot," said Pardew.

"But when you have a difficult period like we are having, you need your senior players in and around you and we haven't got them."

The Magpies will attempt to book their place in the knockout stage of the Europa League on Thursday but domestic matters are becoming a major concern.

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