NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew said he was incensed by what he saw as strong-arm tactics by Sunderland in yesterday’s derby, blaming Lee Cattermole for turning the game into a war.
And he felt the Magpies’ last-gasp equaliser was just reward for an attempt by the home team to let their football do their talking for them.
“I thought we deserved a point,”he insisted.
“First-half, Sunderland came to upset us and put a few tackles in – Cattermole set the tone and it was ugly, if I’m honest.
“I thought that first tackle was pre-meditated, and I was disappointed with that – he could have gone off for that at another time.
“That set the mood for a very physical first half and I thought it was all about who was going to keep their heads – I was just hoping to get to half-time with 11 players, if I’m honest.
“At half-time, we got into our players, got them to calm down, and they were terrific in the 10 minutes after the break.
“Sometimes when you do that, people crack and that’s what happened – it was an unlikely source, though, Stephane Sessegnon – but after that it was just a case of whether we could get the two goals we needed.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do that.
“We had a great chance with the penalty, which would have given us plenty of time to get back into it.
“But, in the end, we got the goal we wanted “
For Pardew, it was a game of two halves.
“Sunderland were the better side in the first half when the ball came down,” he said.
“They picked up possession, they bossed us a little bit.
“But, second-half, we changed it.
“We felt it was important that we got away from the physical side of the game because we got wrapped up in the physical side of things – I was really frustrated with that and I told them just to go out and try to play.
“I wanted them just to go out and play their football and they did manage to do that.
“The pressure started from the minute it kicked off in the second half – we should have scored in the first five minutes.
“But when you put pressure on like that, you feel that something is going to give.
“Second-half, we had to show character to come back and get something out of the game, but I have to say that I’m glad this game is out of the way.
“Now we can concentrate on the league and the very real prospect that we might qualify for Europe.”