Alan Pardew admitted that Newcastle are not too good to be relegated from the Premier League after they were beaten 2-0 at Brighton of the Championship in the third round of the FA Cup, with the manager insisting he must be allowed to bring in players this month.
Newcastle are two points above the relegation places and their squad has been ravaged by injuries to key players, Cheik Tioté's departure to the Africa Cup of Nations and Demba Ba joining Chelsea.
"Not once this season have I had my best side out. We're not too big to go down," Pardew said. "I think it is important to spend. We lost Cheik and Demba, one to African Nations and one to a transfer. The most important thing for us is our Premier League status now because we've put ourselves at risk with all the injuries and the run we're on. We need to make sure we're a Premier League side next season. We're not hiding from that. We need our best players back."
Pardew, who saw Shola Ameobi sent off for two bookings in the second half, was forced to name an inexperienced side and handed debuts to three youngsters. Newcastle have been caught short by their failure to strengthen adequately last summer and Pardew was disappointed that he was unable to play his strongest team against Brighton.
"I'm a bit aggrieved I can't put out a stronger team than that because there are young players who gave everything," he said. "Unfortunately they shouldn't be playing for Newcastle in the third round, they should be in our development team. But that's where we're at. We didn't have enough good players on the pitch. That team is a shadow of the team we can put out. We never thought we'd be in this position. We should have brought in one or two more. We're paying the price."
One of Pardew's key players, Ba, move to Chelsea during the week and the striker made an instant impact for his new team, scoring twice in the 5-1 drubbing of Southampton. Afterwards Chelsea's interim manager, Rafael Benítez, was full of praise. "It is always important for a striker to score goals but more than the goals it is the contribution to the team and the understanding of what we want to do that pleased me [about Ba]," Benítez said."He was really good and showed understanding of what we had talked about – the movement of the players and what we wanted to do. He was very clever and did everything we wanted from him on the pitch."
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