Alan Pardew was left frustrated at another missed opportunity as Newcastle United went out of the FA Cup at the first attempt, writes .
Despite taking a 61st-minute lead through Papiss Cisse, they were beaten 2-1 by Cardiff City, guaranteeing their wait for a major domestic trophy will go into a 60th year.
Pardew has lost four of his five FA Cup ties as Newcastle manager and whereas last year he was preoccupied by the danger of relegation, his team went into Saturday’s game well on course to achieve the top-ten Premier League finish that is their stated aim, and with only three players unavailable.
“I was disappointed because this was a good opportunity to have a run in the cup, in terms of the squad having plenty of options,” said Pardew, without the suspended Mathieu Debuchy and the injured Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul. “It was an opportunity to use the cup to propel our season and we have blown it in that last period of the game.”
Newcastle were booed off at full-time by supporters desperate to see their team make a serious bid to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1955. It is 2006 since they even reached the fifth round. Pardew made seven changes to his starting XI on Saturday, but now his entire squad will be rested in the last week of January, while Cardiff are at Bolton Wanderers in round four.
The Magpies’ manager sympathised with the fans – many of whom stayed away thanks to a combination of the cost of Christmas and the apathy he has shown the competition in deeds if not words – but stressed his players were hurting too.
“Our fans especially and the group of players will feel the hurt, especially when the fourth round is played and we haven’t got a game,” he said.
“Players want to play and have a taste of success and unfortunately we are not going to win a trophy this year because we are already out.
“Of course I can feel the hurt in the dressing room. The players are upset, very disappointed with one segment of that game. You can perhaps have a bad 20 minutes at the start of a game but you can’t in the last 20 minutes because that is when it is decided.
“We were the home team and we had to push on and couldn’t sit back on a 1-0. We had to try and build on it and we didn’t do that and paid a hefty price.”
It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s substitutes who gave the former Manchester United striker a win in his first game in charge of Cardiff. Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell both scored as Newcastle appeared to try to coast to the finishing line.
Meanwhile, Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin claims there has been no Newcastle bid for creative midfielder Remy Cabella, whom he values at £14m, but was non-committal on what would happen if there was any.
“Agents have called me, but I am on holiday,” he said at the weekend. “We will see, on Monday.
“Anyway, there is absolutely no contact with that club.”