Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has explained the difference in his team from the start of the season and the side which lost the derby against Sunderland over the weekend.
Newcastle fell victim to a late winner from Adam Johnson and Pardew has moved quickly to address fears that his team could suffer a similar slump in form, which was evident at the start of the campaign.
“Yes (different bad patch), because I think you could see at the end in the players’ emotion, they had given everything. I don’t think you could argue that we have not given everything for the cause today,” he told the Chronicle.
“Sometimes football being football, you don’t get your just deserts.”
Newcastle are currently ninth in the table ahead of the Boxing Day games and just four points behind Arsenal, currently in sixth place.
The side is looking up towards the top eight rather than behind them and Pardew will be very determined for his team to react in the right way for the game against Manchester United.
Newcastle played well at Old Trafford last season and will take confidence from that result, while Manchester United’s winning run was ended by Aston Villa over the weekend.
It’s then difficult games against Everton and Burnley before the pile up of league fixtures eases at the start of the New Year.
What will also make Pardew confident of taking something in the game against United is the reaction he talks about from his players.
He would have been far more frustrated if he didn’t see emotion and disappointment from his players.
Any time Newcastle lose to Sunderland is difficult to take but in the greater scheme of things, the side are still very well placed.