NEWCASTLE United are down after their frustrating defeat to Chelsea – but they’re far from out, according to striker Shola Ameobi.
Newcastle suffered their second defeat of the season on Saturday when Andre Villas-Boas’s side won 3-0 at St James’s Park.
The result ended their long run in the Premier League’s top four.
But Ameobi’s adamant that he and his team-mates can put the loss behind them at Carrow Road on Saturday, even without first-choice centre-halves Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.
Taylor’s likely to miss the rest of the season, while Coloccini will miss the Norwich City fixture.
The injuries are a significant blow to Pardew, who is short of options in central defence.
But Ameobi’s confident that sixth-placed Newcastle can pull together and take advantage of a winnable sequence of games, with the Norwich game followed by back to back home fixtures against Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion.
“We just have to stay together as a team,” Ameobi said.
“You will lose games, that’s a given. It’s how we come back and how we respond.
“The manager was quite positive after the game. The dressing room’s still positive as well. We’re in the position we’re in because we’ve done well this season.
“We have to remember what we’ve achieved, and now take that confidence forward to Norwich.
“We have played the top three teams in a row and it has been a tough run for us. We have to take confidence from where we’re at, and our league position.”
Coloccini and Taylor have been outstanding in the heart of Pardew’s defence, and their absence will be keenly felt.
Ameobi added: “It’s a big blow losing two centre-backs, as they’ve been stalwarts for our team.
“It’ll be tough for us, but this fight and desire that people talk about has to come to the fore again. Whoever steps in has to bring everything they’ve got. I’m sure we will be all right.”
United’s game against Chelsea turned on a fourth-minute decision from referee Mike Dean, who chose not to dismiss David Luiz for a foul on Demba Ba as he bore down on Petr Cech’s goal.
Pardew then lost Coloccini to injury, and Didier Drogba broke the deadlock late in the first half.
However, a spirited Newcastle pressed for an equaliser after the break, and only conceded the second and third goals after Taylor left the field in agony in the dying minutes.
“We had a side coming to us with a lot of quality, and I think they were here to prove a point,” said Ameobi.
“We went after them, and unfortunately it wasn’t our day. Against a quality team, you have to take your chances when they come. Unfortunately the dice didn’t roll our away.”
On Dean’s decision, Ameobi went on: “These are things that change games.
“It would have been a big moment for us, it was something that we felt deserved a red card, but the ref didn’t, and it’s his call.”