Newcastle egos taking a bruising on way down says Alan Pardew

Magpies have been struggling to replicate last season's form

Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, has said his players' egos have been bruised by a start to the season that has left the side on the cusp of the relegation zone.

Newcastle have struggled to recapture the form that saw them finish fifth last season, and yesterday brought two fresh blows with the news that Yohan Cabaye (groin operation) and Steven Taylor (hamstring) will not play until the start of February.

Pardew said ahead of their visit to Stoke, on the back of three successive Premier League defeats, that there had also been a re-evaluation of where they can finish this season. "There are a few egos been knocked and I think that is understandable and not a bad thing," he admitted. "But it's about how you react to it. We are well aware that the fans are restless for a performance, let alone a win, but so are we.

"I won't say it's beyond us [the top six] as I don't know what has happened in the past but it will be a long, long run for us and certainly in the second half of the season we will look to have a stronger side, what with the [transfer] window and senior players coming back to us. The crucial period for us will be now until the first of February.

"I am not going to talk about the window because that is unfair looking at where we are right now. There will be discussions between myself and Derek [Llambias] and Mike [Ashley] about the plan for January for sure."

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