Football - Pardew sympathises with struggling players

Alan Pardew admits he feels sorry for his beleaguered players as they attempt to drag Newcastle out of an alarming mid-season slump.

PA Sport

The 51-year-old has seen his side ripped apart by injury and suspension in recent weeks, and the lack of strength in depth has been graphically exposed by a damaging run of nine defeats in 11 Barclays Premier League games which has left last season's fifth-placed club fighting for their top-flight lives.

Pardew had only five members of what would be considered his strongest team available for Wednesday night's 2-1 home defeat by Everton, and will head into a tricky FA Cup third-round trip to Brighton with one fewer following midfielder Cheick Tiote's departure for the African Nations Cup.

He said: "I don't feel sorry for myself - I'm not that type - but I really, genuinely, look at Colo [skipper Fabricio Coloccini] and Tim Krul, people like that, and do feel for them.

"They are having to really work hard with players who perhaps shouldn't be in the team in terms of where they are in their careers.

"There's no doubt that Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson, James Tavernier, all those guys, eventually will be Newcastle players, but now in the situation we are in, we really shouldn't be asking them [to play].

"We are playing our hearts out and not getting any results. I don't think even our harshest critic would say we are not really trying.

"There's a good atmosphere in the changing room in terms of the togetherness, but we just need more quality on the pitch.

"When you are coming up against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton, you are at a disadvantage, but not for lack of effort."

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