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Pardew: 'We played well enough to make the last eight'
ALAN PARDEW admitted his Newcastle United side passed up a golden chance to make the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup as they suffered an extra-time defeat to Manchester City last night.
Four days after suffering a dispiriting derby defeat to Sunderland, the Magpies responded with a positive display that saw them outplay City for the majority of an opening 90 minutes that finished goalless.
Papiss Cisse passed up a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock at the start of extra-time, shooting too close to goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, and a quick-fire double from Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko dumped Newcastle out of the League Cup at the fourth-round stage for the third time in the last five seasons.
“It's disappointing not to score because I thought we played well enough to warrant a goal,” said Pardew, who introduced Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa from the substitutes' bench in an unsuccessful attempt to fashion a breakthrough. “I couldn't really ask any more of the players – their performance level was really high.
“We had Man City in a difficult situation, and it's a shame we just didn't get our noses in front. We had a big chance at the start of extra-time, and when you take the lead in extra-time, it's very difficult for a team to claw it back because people get tired. The first goal was critical in that period, and unfortunately for us, they scored it.
“I feel for the fans really, because I thought they were terrific. They didn't give us a hard time about Sunderland – they came here to support the team and we responded to that. But unfortunately we didn't get the night we all wanted with a victory.”
Newcastle have now failed to win any of their last three matches, although barring the opening 20 minutes at the Stadium of Light, it would be unfair to be too critical of any of their displays.
Nevertheless, with the club's next two Premier League matches pitting them against Chelsea and Tottenham, there is the potential for their winless run to extend into the middle of next month, a scenario that would make an already pressurised situation even more uncomfortable.
“In the last three games before this, our performance levels have been high,” said Pardew. “Obviously you have periods in games where you don't dominate as much as you would like, and on Sunday at the start (against Sunderland), we didn't dominate.
“But the performance level was still high, and I always think that results will follow if you're like that.
“If you looked at us tonight, you'd have to say we're not in bad form. It's not like people are lacking confidence, and the players that came in did very well.
“We've just got to keep maintaining that level. We're in a difficult run of games, there's no doubt about that. We've certainly got two tough fixtures in the next two, so we need a repeat of the performance level we had here.”
With Saturday's game against Chelsea due to kick off on Saturday lunch-time, Newcastle's players will have a swift turnaround in the wake of last night's defeat.
Chelsea's players have an extra 24 hours in which to recover from their own Capital One Cup win over Arsenal, and Pardew's squad must also shake off the effects of an additional 30 minutes of extra-time.
“I thought Chelsea looked fairly fresh (against Arsenal),” said Pardew. “Jose (Mourinho) made a lot of changes, but I can only hope that the couple of fresh legs we kept in the background will freshen us up and we'll be okay.
“We certainly can't do anything on the training ground. It will be purely on the (tactics) board, and put our feet up and get some nutrients into the guys. Hopefully, we can hit the levels we hit tonight. If we can play as well as we did here, we'll have a chance against Chelsea.”
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