For the first time since 1967, Newcastle United have lost back to back derbies. Fact.
There’s no hiding place from that statistic.
Whatever happens against Manchester City and Chelsea this week, that fact won’t go away. It will haunt Pardew until the next derby in February, if he is still in charge by then.
But let me just say this, on another afternoon, Newcastle might well have taken the three points because they WERE the better team.
Luck ran out for Pardew. He went for the victory, and if I was manager I would have done the same.
We looked like going on to win after Mathieu Debuchy equalised in the 57th minute.
Sunderland visibly tired after Debuchy’s goal, their first-half harrying having seemingly caught up with them. The game was there for the taking. Yet it wasn’t and the points – and pride – stayed on Wearside.
So now Gus Poyet is a Mackem hero, but the team-sheet he put out for his first derby in charge of Sunderland was a major talking point in the minutes before the game.
Fans were left scratching their heads as much at Andrea Dossena being handed a debut as Ki Sung-Yueng being left on the bench.
The restoration of Carlos Cuellar at centre-half was as big a surprise as Jack Colback being handed a start in central midfield.
But the Uruguayan was quick to explain in the post-match press conference that there was method in what some perceived to be madness.
Gus Poyet: “I tried to go back to basics.
“I tried to put people in the positions they prefer – a left-back in a left-back position, a right-back in a right-back position, two natural centre halves, two natural central midfielders.
“I tried not to complicate things.
“Probably the biggest risk I took was putting two strikers up front but if you don’t take risks, you are not going to get out of the trouble we currently find ourselves in.
“Playing two up front put pressure on the central midfielders and the wide men to contribute.
“But Lee Cattermole and Jack Colback were outstanding in their contribution because they worked so hard.
“I took Lee off towards the end because he was tiring and I felt that we needed to hold on to the ball a little bit better but he had still played great.
“It was just that we had worked so hard in the first half it would have been impossible to maintain it.
“Fabio was so close to starting the game because of his attitude and performance in training and how positive he is.
“Sometimes you can look at things - and it might be because of the shape of the team, the time, the tactics - and think I can’t put him in right now.
“But, for me, if you were thinking of someone who might score in this game on the basis of training during the week, you would have gone for Fabio.”
Source: Newcastle United Mad