ALAN Pardew has warned his Newcastle United players none of them is untouchable in the wake of their January recruitment drive.
Five new signings have added competition to the squad and it said it all Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – United’s most expensive January recruit – had to sit on the bench as an unused substitute for the Tottenham defeat.
He will come into the reckoning for the midweek Europa League clash with Metalist Kharkiv and Steven Taylor, his defensive colleague, says he is happy with the competition for places.
Taylor said: “We have had injuries, suspensions and it has probably affected us because we had a very small squad.
“These new lads have increased the competition for places and the gaffer has made it very clear if you don’t perform you don’t get in the team.
“There is excitement again because of the new signings. Just like there is in the Tottenham squad, you can tell.”
Spurs inflicted United’s first defeat since their French influx courtesy of a super Gareth Bale brace, the second of which came as Newcastle appeared to be gaining the ascendancy.
Taylor admits there was frustration at the way the game developed.
He added: “I felt we could have won it. We had the momentum and they had their fans on their backs.
“They became frustrated with themselves as well.
“We could see by their body language they were frustrated but then Gareth Bale’s momentum has taken him through and he scores the winner.
“They had been quiet on the pitch. We seemed to have a buzz in our play and we believed we would get another goal, like we did against Chelsea.
“At the back we had them rattled a bit, so we pushed on in the hope of getting another goal.”
For Taylor, the experience of going up against Bale was both a challenge and a chastening experience.
He has likened the Wales winger to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Taylor said: “To me Gareth Bale is a world-beater.
“He is a complete player, he is like Ronaldo because when he is coming at you you have to be on your toes all of the time.
“You have to pray he doesn’t score a goal – and he scores two. You could see what a great player he is.
“Yet we are all disappointed because but for his two goals we felt we could have won.”