ALAN Pardew admitted the team he fielded at Brighton and Hove Albion was the weakest he’s sent out in his Newcastle United career.
Pardew’s injury-hit side was deservedly beaten 2-0 at the Amex Stadium in Saturday’s third-round tie.
Goals from Andrea Orlandi and Will Hoskins beat a Newcastle team without a clutch of key players.
And the performance underlined the need for more new recruits, with weaknesses in the club’s squad having been exposed time and again this season.
Only Vurnon Anita and Davide Santon, arguably, would be in Pardew’s strongest starting XI.
“You have to understand this is a competition that I love, and I want to put my best team out,” Pardew told SportMail.“Every time the cup fixture comes out, we’re depleted. We were depleted at Stevenage, depleted at Brighton last year, and even more depleted this year.
“That is the weakest team I’ve had to pick from in terms of player experience and top-quality players.”
Midfielder Gael Bigirimana, 19, was the pick of the young players fielded by Pardew, who also called upon Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid and James Tavernier.
“We have to be honest enough and say that side should not have been representing us in the third round of the FA Cup,” added Pardew.
“But that’s where we were. We had no (Fabricio) Coloccini and no Papiss (Demba Cisse) due to strains. I couldn’t risk them.
“The only one that I kept out of my side was (Sylvain) Marveaux.
“We wanted to get to 60 or 70 minutes and create a moment when he will be fresh.
“He will create a moment like he almost did at the end.
“The younger players gave everything they could, but they should be in our development team, not our first team.”