NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew is braced for six tough weeks until the January transfer window opens.
The Magpies suffered a second successive home defeat on Saturday, with Swansea’s 2-1 success dropping the Tynesiders into the bottom half of the Premier League.
Pardew – whose squad has been decimated by injuries and suspensions, with Yohan Cabaye the latest injury blow – is hopeful of strengthening in the New Year.
Until then, he must coax his players through a gruelling series of domestic and European fixtures.
Next up are Maritimo at St James’s Park on Thursday night in the Europa League.
“There’s nothing I can do until January,” Pardew said.
“We have to get on with it. Since I have been here, it’s our first time we’ve had a difficult spell.
“So we have to keep our heads.
“Apart from Sunderland away, I haven’t had a full squad to pick from.”
Pardew – who named Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi in his starting line-up against Swansea – felt the “experience” in Brian Laudrup’s side made a difference.
Second-half goals from Michu and Jonathan de Guzman gave the visitors a two-goal lead.
Their breakthrough instead came in the 58th minute, when Tim Krul’s misplaced kick found Pablo Hernandez on the Swansea left. He raced forward, looked up and found an unmarked Michu, who headed powerfully home.
Swansea sub Danny Graham created the second when his shot was parried into the path of de Guzman, who fired home expertly from an acute angle three minutes from time.
Demba Ba’s injury-time strike, after Sylvain Marveaux’s close-range strike came back off the bar, was too little, too late.
“We had a very young bench,” added Pardew.
“You look around, and those boys should be playing in the reserves and gaining experience. But we’re asking them to do a job.
“It’s another defeat, and we have to accept we must dig our way out of it. We need more senior players available.
“That was a good Swansea side with good experience in it.
“They had a bit more about experience than us at certain times in the game.”
Defender Steven Taylor said: “We came in very disappointed. The gaffer told us not to beat ourselves up.
“The work ethic we had was very good, but we couldn’t turn our chances into goals. We just didn’t take them.
“We’ve improved from last week (a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham), but we couldn’t find a solution to get past the back four. We left it far too late to get the goal.
“The game was a bit open. We’ve got to make sure this is a fortress.
“We won everything in the first half – we bossed it – and that’s how it should have been throughout the game.
“But they were two goals you can’t give away at this level. You give them a chance, they’re going to punish you.
“We’ll keep plugging away. We’ll get it right – it’s just a matter of time. Nothing went for us – there were shots going in left, right and centre.
“Hopefully, it’ll kick in and we’ll get back to winning ways.
“We’ll stick together – there’s no bad atmosphere,”
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson (Bigirimana 74), S Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Anita, Tiote, Ferguson (Shola Ameobi 46), Sammy Ameobi (Marveaux 79), Ba. Subs: Elliot, Amalfitano, Tavernier, Abeid. Booked: Santon. Goals: Ba 90.
Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Dyer (Routledge 62), Michu (Graham 82), Hernandez, Shechter (Agustien 66). Subs: Cornell, Chico, Moore, Tiendalli. Booked: Shechter, Britton, Rangel. Goals: Michu 58, de Guzman 87
Att: 49,403. Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)