NEWCASTLE United’s players still left Stamford Bridge with their heads held high.
That was the verdict of Alan Pardew after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
First-half goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres saw off Pardew’s side.
Newcastle – who were pinned back for much of the first period – improved after the break, but they couldn’t conjure up a goal, with Demba Ba having United’s best chance.
Hazard – Yohan Cabaye’s former midfield colleague at Lille – was again impressive for the home side, who have invested heavily since lifting the Champions League trophy in May.
“They have spent £80m since May,” Pardew told the Gazette. “Eden Hazard’s a massive player for them, and there are others.
“Anybody who comes here – even Man United and Man City – will be in trouble. They have a lot of great players here.”
While frustrated by his team’s performance before the break, Pardew was heartened by the way they fought back in the second-half, believing they showed “guts” not to capitulate.
“I can’t really fault my players,” added Pardew. “We could’ve done better on the goals, really, but in the second half we showed real guts.”