Newcastle United’s Ryan Taylor receives Alan Pardew’s backing

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RYAN Taylor has been backed to recover from a tough afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.

Taylor was at fault for two of Manchester City’s goals in Newcastle United’s 3-1 defeat on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has been a Premier League ever-present this season, having been drafted in out of position at left-back in the wake of Jose Enrique’s summer sale to Liverpool.

He faced his toughest game yet against the league leaders.

Taylor handled a shot from Mario Balotelli to give away a penalty for City’s first goal late in the first half, and he was caught in possession in the 44th minute for their second.

But Pardew has no issues with how Taylor – or any of his players – set about their tasks at the Etihad Stadium.

“When you come up against these sort of players, and you’re a defender, you’re going to have some tough times,” Pardew said.

“All our defenders had some tough times.

“There were outstanding footballers out on that pitch, but all of them came out with great credit.

“I couldn’t have asked for much more.

“They deserved to win – they’re a very, very strong team.”

Taylor’s namesake Steven was off the field having blood flow stemmed from his nose when Hatem Ben Arfa gave away the penalty which was converted by Sergio Ageuro for City’s third goal.

The 25-year-old has been wearing a mask since he nose was broken against Wigan Athletic last month.

Pardew quipped: “It’s getting a bit rubbery, that nose!”

Roberto Mancini has built an outstanding side, as powerful as it is talented, with Sheikh Mansour’s millions, and many a team will be humbled by them this season, both home and away.

Newcastle, however, weren’t humbled.

Alan Pardew’s players, drained physically and emotionally, left the field after applauding United’s travelling fans with their heads held high.

They were bloodied – Steven Taylor the prime example, having taken another whack on his recently-broken nose – but unbowed.

City, predictably, dominated the early part of the first-half, and their first real chance came in the 21st minute, Sergio Ageuro shooting over Tim Krul’s goal after turning on the edge of the box.

Krul superbly tipped over a Mario Balotelli header eight minutes later, but United also had their opportunities, notably when Demba Ba put a header, from a Yohan Cabaye corner, wide of Joe Hart’s goal.

However, no sooner had Newcastle found their feet, then they were behind, referee Chris Foy awarding City a penalty five minutes before the break after Ryan Taylor handled a shot from Balotelli.

Balotelli stopped his run up before easily beating Krul, who was motionless as the ball hit the back of the net.

Worse was the come, Micah Richards catching Taylor in possession a minute before the break to make it 2-0.

Still, United kept on playing, and had Ben Arfa’s 60th-minute shot hit the post – the winger had showed a glimpse of his talent to work the shooting opportunity – then the last half hour could have been very different.

Unfortunately, Newcastle’s doctor was trying to stem the blood from Steven Taylor’s nose when Richards burst into the box in the 71st minute, and he was clumsily grounded by Ben Arfa.

With Balotelli off the pitch, his job done, Ageuro converted the spot kick.

By now, United were looking a little ragged, but they kept their heads up, and got a late consolation, a pass from substitute James Perch taking two deflections before rolling to Dan Gosling in front of an empty net.

Newcastle rallied, but they ran out of time.

However, on this evidence, their league campaign won’t run out of legs.

Manchester City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; de Jong, Y Toure (Barry, 84); Milner, Balotelli (Silva, 69), Nasri; Ageuro (Johnson, 75). Subs not used: Pantilimon, K Toure, Kolarov, Dzeko.

Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, R Taylor; Sammy Ameobi (Gosling, 79), Cabaye 7 (Perch, 85), Guthrie, Gutierrez, Ben Arfa (Lovenkrands, 76), Ba. Subs not used: Elliot, Santon, Smith, Shola Ameobi.

Att: 47,408 Ref: Chris Foy (St Helens).