NEWCASTLE United’s preparation for the club’s ill-fated visit to Southampton was done indoors - and NOT out on the training pitch.
Alan Pardew’s side were battered 4-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.
The game followed a 3-0 home defeat to Everton four days earlier.
And United manager Pardew, mindful of that match, limited the players’ workload between the two Premier League fixtures in the hope that his team would have more energy against his former club.
But the plan backfired - and Newcastle were lifeless, “lacklustre” in Pardew’s words, at the St Mary’s Stadium.
Pardew admitted, in hindsight, that he should have done more work on the training ground in the build-up to the Premier League game.
“We just had a really lacklustre performance,” Pardew said.
“We rested the players after Everton, and did most of our tactics on the board thinking we’d need that energy.
“But we just didn’t look like we had any energy.
“Maybe we should have done a bit more work on the training ground in terms of this game.”
Pardew made two unenforced changes for the game - Hatem Ben Arfa and Massadio Haidara came into his team - but the performance was stale, not fresh.
And forward Ben Arfa - whose days at St James’s Park now look numbered - was substituted at half time along with Mapou Yangap-Mbiwa, who had endured a torrid 45 minutes at right-back.
Pardew said: “I was mindful that we put a hell of an effort on on Tuesday, and we haven’t got a big enough squad to have freshened it up.
“We made a couple of changes, but it didn’t make us fresh. We were second best.”