Monday 12 December 2011
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has tipped his side to overcome their difficult spell after a run that has seen them pick up one point from four matches.
The Magpies lost 4-2 at Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, but they have been beset by injury problems in recent weeks after enjoying a settled side for the first few weeks of the campaign.
Defenders Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini missed the trip to Carrow Road, with full-backs James Perch and Danny Simpson playing in central defence, while Mike Williamson, Cheik Tiote, Danny Guthrie and Sylvain Marveaux were also missing.
"We've had some serious injuries and they've just knocked us off our heels a little bit"
- Alan Pardew
Demba Ba struck twice for the Magpies, but they had Dan Gosling sent off as they slipped to a third defeat of the season.
"It's fairly obvious we missed our defenders," said Pardew, who has still led Newcastle to seventh in the League after 15 matches.
"It was disappointing to go into the match with so many key players missing. We've had some serious injuries - Steven and Sylvain are out for the season, so that's been disappointing. It's just knocked us off our heels a little bit.
"But I think it'd be very harsh to say we are on the slide. If we can make it into the top half at the end of the season, I think we'd be happy."
Newcastle's makeshift defence conceded three goals from set-pieces at Norwich, and Pardew admitted that they succumbed to the Canaries' aerial power without Taylor and Coloccini.
"You can't concede from three set-plays but any team would struggle with the injuries we've got in central defence," he added. "Our squad has been stretched to the limit.
"We knew a clean sheet might have been beyond us with the personnel we had available, so we had to threaten their goal, which we did all day. And two goals should be enough to take something away from here.
"They were buoyed by the fact that we didn't have our two first-choice centre-backs, and three missing in total.
"Any team in the Premier League is going to struggle with that, even Manchester United if they had Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling out of the side. It's never going to be quite the same."