NEWCASTLE United’s season took another turn for the worse at St James’s Park this afternoon.
Manchester United ran out comfortable 4-0 winners thanks two goals from Juan Mata and strikes from Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj.
Newcastle, beaten by the same scoreline at Southampton last weekend, themselves lacked imagination and ideas.
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And the result heaped more pressure on beleaguered manager Alan Pardew, whose players were booed off the field for the second game in a row.
The performance will have done nothing to quell calls from fans for Pardew’s dismissal.
The club, however, remains ninth in the Premier League.
Newcastle made a promising start, and midfielder Dan Gosling, making his first Premier League start since December 2011, put an early header wide from a Davide Santon cross.
Striker Papiss Demba Cisse also scuffed a fourth-minute effort, while defender Mike Williamson intercepted a dangerous low cross from Ashley Young, who left the field with a suspected dislocated thumb in the 17th minute and was replaced by Januzaj.
Cisse forced a save from Anders Lindegaard with a 24th-minute header.
But all too often, Newcastle’s final ball let them down.
Man United’s breakthrough came in the 39th minute from a disputed free-kick. Darren Fletcher went down just outside the box under a challenge from Gosling, and Mata took the ball.
The midfielder curled a left-footed effort into the top-right hand corner to open the scoring.
Hernandez struck the post before the half-time break with Mike Williamson – who had been caught in the face by the forward’s boot – lying prone on the turf.
The game was all but over early in the second half.
Hernandez broke up the right and rolled the ball to Mata, who sidestepped a challenge from captain Fabricio Coloccini before slotting the ball past a helpless Rob Elliot.
Pardew replaced striker Luuk de Jong with Hatem Ben Arfa.
But things got worse for Newcastle, with Hernandez adding a third from close range in the 64th minute.
There was no way back for Pardew’s team, who laboured through the second half, and Lindegaard was equal to their only real chance of the half, a close-range shot from Cisse.
Januzaj added a fourth goal for Man United in injury time after Mata played him in.
Newcastle have now failed to scored in 11 of their last 15 league games.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot; Santon, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara; Anita, Gosling, Tiote, Gouffran (Shola Ameobi, 85); de Jong (Ben Arfa, 61), Cisse. Subs not used: Alnwick, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Armstrong.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Lindegaard; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Evra (Buttner, 64); Young (Januzaj, 17), Mata, Fletcher, Fellaini (Nani, 70), Kagawa; Hernandez. Subs not used: De Gea, Vidic, Cleverley, Wilson.
Goals: Mata 39, 50, Hernandez 64, Januzaj 90
Bookings: Tiote 52
Refereee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)