STEVEN Taylor is determined to hold on to his Newcastle United shirt after returning from a five-month absence.
The defender made his first Premier League appearance since August in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Long-serving Taylor (right) had a long absence through suspension and injury, and found his route to first-team football blocked by Mike Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa on his return to fitness.
But the injury suffered by captain Fabricio Coloccini against West Bromwich Albion – and the three-game ban handed to Mathieu Debuchy for his dismissal at The Hawthorns – led to a defensive reshuffle.
And Taylor – who also started the club’s FA Cup defeat to Cardiff City – is now determined to add to his 238 Newcastle appearances between now and the end of the season and help the club challenge for a European place.
“It felt great to be back,” Taylor said. “It was my first league game since Man City away in the first game of the season. The lads were brilliant. Obviously, I just want to be playing, and it felt great to be out there again.”
Newcastle midfielder Cheik Tiote had a goal controversially disallowed in the first half when trailing to Edin Dzeko’s early goal.
Referee Mike Jones adjudged Yoan Gouffran, stood in an offside position, to have interfered with play, despite having been stood to the right of goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Taylor, sent off in the meeting between the two sides at the Etihad Stadium at the start of the season, said United’s players were “devastated” at the final whistle, having more than matched the Premier League title challengers.
“We felt we could have won the game,” said the former England Under-21 international. “I can’t remember us having that many chances against Manchester City.
“They’ve got world-class players, but we got right into them and caused them problems.
“I couldn’t see anything wrong with Cheik’s strike. It was a fantastic strike – similar to the Arsenal goal. Joe Hart’s definitely seen the shot – Gouff hasn’t obstructed him – so I couldn’t see what the problem was.”
Pardew, meanwhile, escaped disciplinary action from the Football Association but has been “reminded of his responsibilities” after his expletive-laden rant at City boss Manuel Pellegrini.