Demba Ba 'has been honourable' says Alan Pardew

Newcastle manager turns attention to finding a replacement

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is confident he will find a replacement for Demba Ba after seeing his side slip deeper into relegation trouble.

The 27-year-old Senegal international was in London to discuss his move to Chelsea as the Magpies slipped to a 2-1 home defeat by Everton, their ninth in 11 Barclays Premier League games.

That left them just two points clear of the relegation zone and facing a genuine scrap for survival with Cheick Tiote having joined the catalogue of players now unavailable as he prepares to join up with the Ivory Coast for the African Nations Cup.

However, with France full-back Mathieu Debuchy among the crowd at St James' Park ahead of a medical, reinforcements are on the way and Pardew is hoping the fact the club has the best part of a month to replace Ba will work in their favour.

He said: "There is a positive because if he had gone with two days to go of the window and we hadn't got a replacement in, suddenly we are in real trouble.

"We have got time and hopefully that will work in our favour.

"Demba has been honourable. When he came, there weren't too many people queuing up. I took the opportunity to take him and the clause that went in made a lot of sense at the time for us and for Demba, of course.

"If he hadn't worked out, maybe as well as he has, then it would have been a great deal for us. But it worked out even better for him because he has scored loads of goals and the clause has kicked in and he's moved on.

"We were all straight and fair with that and there has not been any problem."

Debuchy would add quality to a defence which has been ripped apart by injuries and which has now conceded 13 goals in three games.

Pardew said: "Fingers crossed that he passes the medical, that's probably the key to that because I hear the discussions have gone well on the finance side.

"He's a player that we really needed tonight - he might have made a difference tonight."

Debuchy must have been delighted as he watched Papiss Cisse, the man who will have to fill Ba's boost in the short term at least, head his prospective employers into a second-minute lead.

Tim Krul had to be at his best to keep out Leighton Baines' sixth-minute free-kick, but the home side were unfortunate not to extend their lead on the half-hour when James Perch's header came back off the inside of the post.

However, disaster struck two minutes before the break when Fabricio Coloccini was harshly penalised for a challenge on Marouane Fellaini and Baines smashed the free-kick past Krul.

Worse was to follow after the break with Newcastle struggling to find their rhythm, and substitute Victor Anichebe took full advantage when he turned Nikica Jelavic's cross past Krul at his near post.

Pardew, who had seen his side lose 4-3 at Manchester United and 7-3 at Arsenal in their previous two games, said: "Let's be honest, we have had an awful run, but I thought tonight we gave a really honest account and we can't ask for more than that from the players we had on the pitch.

"But in the end, Everton had a bit more guile, a bit more experience and a bit more quality, and that's what we need to bring back.

"We have played Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton, three really, really top teams without our best team, far from it, but we have to take heart from the performances we are giving.

"But that ain't enough. We need some new bodies in, we need some bodies out of the treatment room and we need to get our best side back on the pitch because we won't hide form the fact that we are right in it now and we have got to get out of it."

Everton boss David Moyes was delighted with his team's performance, and particularly the efforts of England full-back Baines.

He said: "Ashley Cole is the best left-back in England and I have always thought Leighton Baines is behind him.

"But I said last week before we played Chelsea, I think the gap between the two of them is getting much closer.

"He is disappointed he has not scored three goals tonight, Bainesy."

PA

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