Howlers cost us dearly – Alan Pardew

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ALAN Pardew bemoaned the defensive blunders that sent Newcastle United spiralling to defeat at home to Manchester United.

United eased home 3-0 yesterday thanks to goals from Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra and Tom Cleverley.

The first two strikes – both headers from set-pieces – all but won the game inside the first 15 minutes.

Evans opened the scoring when he lost marker Mike Williamson to head home a Robin Van Persie corner in the ninth minute.

And Evra got away from Papiss Demba Cisse to nod a Wayne Rooney flag kick past Steve Harper six minutes later.

Newcastle manager Pardew, without first-choice centre-halves Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor, was frustrated at his side’s early defending.

“As organised as we are, and the work we put in, we‘re gutted with the two goals,” Pardew said.

“They were two set plays – it’s not like it was magical football. They were two great deliveries, but we should still defend better.”

Newcastle hardly saw the ball in the opening 20 minutes, and by the time they got into the game, they were trailing by two goals.

Pardew’s team went on to have spells of possession, but they couldn’t take the half chances that came their way.

The outcome, however, could have been different had Cisse’s header early in the second half been adjudged to have crossed the line after Demba Ba’s header rebounded off the bar.

Goalkeeper David De Gea recovered well to scrape the ball away, and TV replays suggested the ball had not fully crossed the line.

As it was, Cleverley ended any hopes of a comeback in the 71st minute when he struck a cross-cum-shot which sailed over a helpless Harper.

“For us it was a disappointing start,” added Pardew. “But you have to hold your hands up sometimes because they were on fire.

“We couldn’t get near the ball. Three or four decisions may have given us a release from the pressure, but they never come our way.

“We seemed to lose a few decisions. Everything was going against us.”

Pardew hit out at Robin Van Persie after the striker appeared to catch Yohan Cabaye with his elbow, late in yesterday’s game.

The incident wasn’t seen by referee Howard Webb, and the 29-year-old, booked for a clumsy challenge on Davide Santon which led to a confrontation with Cheik Tiote, could be hit with a three-game ban for violent conduct.

Pardew called on the Football Association to examine the incident. “Van Persie has looked at Yohan, and he has elbowed him,” he said. “I think that needs to be looked at,” he said.

Newcastle’s next game is the derby at Sunderland.

Pardew added: “It’s done now, and we have to be ready for the next game. It’s a derby, and the fans and all the players just want to win.

“It doesn’t matter if you play well or not. What’s important is the three points.”

Newcastle: Harper, Santon, Perch, Williamson, Ferguson (Anita 63), Ben Arfa, Tiote (Bigirimana 80), Cabaye, Gutierrez, Cisse (Shola Ameobi 63), Ba. Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Simpson, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi. Booked: Tiote, Gutierrez, Perch, Bigirimana.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Cleverley, Carrick, Welbeck, Rooney (Scholes 79), Kagawa (Valencia 55), van Persie (Giggs 87). Subs Not Used: Lindegaard, Anderson, Hernandez, Wootton. Booked: Kagawa, Ferdinand, van Persie, Scholes. Goals: Evans 8, Evra 15, Cleverley 71.

Att: 52, 203 Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).