Pardew: Our performance deserved better
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was keen to praise his team's performance against Benfica, despite seeing them beaten 3-1 in the Europa League quarter-final first leg in Lisbon after throwing away an early lead.
The Magpies opened the scoring at the Estadio da Luz through a 12th-minute strike from Papiss Cisse, who subsequently hit the post. But the hosts equalised in the 25th minute when Rodrigo finished from a Tim Krul parry, and after Cisse struck the woodwork again with a delicate effort early in the second half, Benfica took control of the tie.
First, Davide Santon's poor attempted backpass allowed substitute Lima to round Krul and make it 2-1 in the 65th minute. Then, six minutes later, Oscar Cardozo scored a penalty after Steven Taylor was penalised for a handball in the area. Reflecting on his team's efforts, Pardew said: "We are disappointed with the result because of the performance level."
He added: "In some parts of the game we played very, very well. I thought we probably had them just where we wanted them just before their second goal and then it is two poor goals on our part.
"There was obviously a mistake for the first and then with the second Steven is so unlucky. It looks like he has caught his boot laces in his studs and that it has affected his jump (when the ball struck his arm), and we have ended up gifting them a third."
Pardew was eager to emphasise that the blame for errors was collective.
"We have to accept mistakes as a team," Pardew said. "There is no (individual) responsibility.
"We had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead again in the second half. The post has denied us twice.
"I can't really say anything more. I was overjoyed with the performance but not the result, and that probably sums up my feelings.
"I thought on another given day we could have got a much better result, for sure. Certainly the third goal was really unlucky and that goal just gives a nice cushion for Benfica."
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