ALAN Pardew watched Newcastle United concede five goals for a second London game in succession – but exonerated his team of repeating the mistakes of Fulham.
The dominance that led to Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-0 win on Saturday night came largely from a fluid midfield passing the ball quickly.
At Craven Cottage last month, Fulham won 5-2 with a more direct approach.
At least at White Hart Lane Pardew could console himself with the thought his side had been beaten by rampant opposition on top form. “It has to be a concern for us,” Pardew said of his side’s capital performances this year.
“That’s twice now, and we’re not going to ignore the fact we’ve been involved in two heavy defeats in a fairly short space of time.
“But I didn’t really think the problems we had here resembled what happened in the Fulham game. I thought the issues at Fulham could be rectified.
“The problems here were down in a large part to a team that was just too good for us. Sometimes you have to accept that.”
Despite being without Rafael van der Vaart, and with Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon on the bench, Tottenham went into the game on a high thanks to Wednesday’s news that Harry Redknapp had been found not guilty of tax evasion.
Although Fabio Capello’s resignation as England manager soon after put a huge question mark over Redknapp’s White Hart Lane future, it did not dampen the mood.
“You were obviously going to see a reaction from the Spurs fans and players,” said Pardew, who had a brief spell at the club as a player.
“It couldn’t have gone any better for them really. Harry must have been sitting on the sidelines 2-0 up thinking he was having the week of his life.
“My team have responded well to setbacks in the past. We had a great win last week (against Aston Villa) and we need to bounce back again.
“If we beat Wolves (in their next game a week on Saturday) and Arsenal and Chelsea draw, we’ll be in a Champions League position so we mustn’t get too carried away by this, even though we’ve been thumped.
“There were two quick goals (inside the first six minutes) and we couldn’t even get ourselves settled. I thought we had a really bad 15 minutes after that where we were all over the place.
“You can narrow up your back four, but then their width will cause you problems. They can pose a real danger in every area and caused us a lot of problems.
“Every one of their players played absolutely brilliantly, I can’t think of a player who had an off day for them. I’m just pleased we stayed disciplined in the second half, got in our holes and didn’t really let them expose us too much, even though they had their tails up. That’s the only thing we can take out of it really.”
The match was Newcastle’s third in succession without first-choice central midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote.
Cabaye has completed a suspension for stamping on Brighton and Hove Albion’s Adam El-Abd last month, while Tiote has not featured since the 3-0 win over Manchester United.
He returns after going all the way to last night’s African Nations Cup final with Ivory Coast against Zambia.
“It’ll be good to get Tiote and Cabaye back for the next game,” said Pardew. “We’ve missed them, but I thought we also missed Ryan Taylor. He’s been a big player for us recently and I’m sure he would have helped us had he been in the midfield.
“If you’d had those three players available, I’m sure it would have shored us up a bit. We’re a little bit limited in that midfield – and that made it tough for our back four.”