FRUSTRATED Alan Pardew admits that a run of six games without a win is a major concern after his Christmas mood was ruined by defeat to West Brom.
The United boss admitted his side had lost their discipline as they chased an important victory – and warned them they must start to control games again if they are to maintain their lofty position in the Premier League.
On a day of intense frustration for Pardew he also lost Davide Santon to a knee injury at half-time. But a third defeat in four games was causing him the most problems as he pondered a performance that he felt was too “desperate”.
“Of course (the run) is a concern. I thought that was evident too,” he said. “The crowd were a little bit desperate for it, we were a bit desperate for it too.
“But you can’t win Premier League games unless you’re disciplined and controlled. At points we weren’t – even though you couldn’t fault their commitment.
“Mainly because we were so desperate to win I thought we lacked a bit of control of the game. Our discipline wasn’t where it was normally and that worried me a bit. We need to make sure that’s right.
“We turned the ball over and were exposed, which isn’t like us.”
A hammer-blow third goal wrecked United’s momentum in the late stages but Pardew pinpointed a profligate first half as the reason for their reverse.
“The third goal just caught us on the break. There was a bit of fortune in the goal – more or less one of their first attacks of the second half,” he said.
“But the first half was where we got ourselves in trouble. We didn’t play well enough in the first half and was caught at times by their front two. Their front two made us edgy, I thought.”
The manager did have words of comfort for encouraging Haris Vuckic, who enjoyed a decent debut.
But Pardew seemed to suggest Yohan Cabaye would return for the Boxing Day clash with Bolton.
“I felt sorry for Haris. He was terrific. He had two terrific efforts and I think he showed everybody here that he’s going to be a player for us for sure,” Pardew said.
“As well as he played we missed Cabaye’s control.
“He’ll be important at Bolton – he’ll come back into the side.”