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Lessons must be learned says Newcastle midfielder
SIX defeats in a row for the first time in Premier League history is hardly the sort of statistic a professional footballer is going to be proud of.
Having had to contend with just that, however, Vurnon Anita thinks the manner of the performances which have resulted in Newcastle United's worst sequence since 1986-87 should be remembered and drawn on during the summer.
It is hard to believe the same Newcastle side, admittedly bereft of the creative midfield talent of Yohan Cabaye since he joined Paris St Germain, was threatening to qualify for Europe at Christmas time.
Now Newcastle fans are just relieved that so many points were accumulated up to that point, otherwise Alan Pardew's side could be deep in relegation trouble right now.
Since the turn of the year, only Cardiff City have claimed less points than Newcastle. The last six defeats, however, have heightened the concerns for the summer, with sections of fans turning on manager Alan Pardew.
Anita said: “All the time we have been making little mistakes and those little mistakes have happened too often, we need to learn from those.
“When you do mistakes like we have been making then it is hard to win games in the Premier League.
“We must narrow down the problems we have been having and try to score at the other end. That is why we have been struggling and we can't allow for the same mistakes next season.”
Given the events at the Emirates on Monday night when the 2,000 away fans regularly chanted for the end of Pardew's reign, the beleaguered boss can't really afford another sorry performance today.
The fact this afternoon's game is at St James' Park and against struggling Cardiff, who lost 4-0 at Sunderland last weekend, could make things worse if Newcastle fail to end the losing run.
Anita said: “It's a home game, we want to finish well for ourselves and for the fans in front of them at St James'.
“It's disappointing we have finished the season poorly already, even if we win on Saturday. We started the season well and ended in disappointment so far. We have two games left to try to end on a winning note.
“During the summer we must try to see what we did well in the first half of the competition and build on that, then try to keep it until the end.”
Earlier in the week Anita claimed Pardew could still lift the squad despite the frustrations. It is also understood he will be given money to spend in the close-season to carry out some much-needed squad strengthening.
There is, though, an overwhelming feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction at the way they have slipped down the table, with a top ten place even under threat before the last two games with Cardiff and Liverpool. Anita said: “Of course it was another disappointing night because it was another defeat. It is not good. We must keep on going.
“There are two games left and we must try to win on Saturday. It's hard to pick yourself up from a run we are on. We must try to do it for us, for all of the Newcastle fans. We must give our all.
“Arsenal are a good side, but it was still another defeat on Monday. Everyone felt it, nobody likes losing 3-0 wherever it is. We must go again on Saturday and try to make up for it. We all want to feel happier.”