Alan Pardew urges Newcastle to use Sunderland draw to kickstart season

 

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew urged his players to use their spirited derby display at Sunderland as a platform to belatedly kickstart their season.

The Magpies defended an early lead with 10 men after Cheick Tiote's dismissal until five minutes from time before finally conceding as Sunderland snatched a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

However, while disappointed not to have returned to Tyneside with a victory which looked to be theirs for the taking, Pardew was confident they could use a gutsy performance as a springboard.

He said: "What can I take from this game? I can't take any negative at all, all I am taking is positives.

"But we spoke in the dressing room about really kicking on now because we have had excuses. We haven't really used them, but we have had injuries and suspensions and we have not really moaned about it.

"But we had our full tape today and it showed. Now we have (Club) Brugge and West Brom and we have got to win those games, we have got to win them."

Newcastle could hardly have got off to a better start when Yohan Cabaye fired them ahead with less than three minutes gone after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could only block Demba Ba's shot at his near post.

But the visitors' task increased in difficulty with 25 minutes gone when midfield enforcer Tiote was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Steven Fletcher.

Newcastle coped admirably with everything the Black Cats threw at them with skipper Fabricio Coloccini marshalling his team superbly, but they finally cracked with 85 minutes gone.

John O'Shea was allowed to meet Sebastian Larsson's deep free-kick with a glancing header which hit Ba and flew past goalkeeper Tim Krul and into the net.

Pardew said: "It would have been one of the greatest victories, I think, if we had managed to hold on because 60 minutes is a long time with 10 men.

"But towards the end of the game we just started to tire, we couldn't quite keep the ball as we would have liked and then there were perhaps too many crosses coming in."

Opposite number Martin O'Neill too hoped a battling point might prove the catalyst for Sunderland's season, which has seen them win just once in seven Barclays Premier League outings after ending the last campaign without a victory in eight.

He said: "I must admit it was a genuine experience for me. The noise that greeted the kick-off was just awesome, but the noise which greeted our equalising goal was something I seriously won't forget in a hurry.

"It was a tough old game. I just thought our creative players are finding it a bit tough at this minute.

"We just need our creative players to get back to what they are capable of doing, and I am hoping obviously we can rectify that in the next few weeks."

PA

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