Perch encouraged ahead of Newcastle’s crunch clash with QPR

ENCOURAGING ... Newcastle's James Perch and Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta  battle for the ball.
ENCOURAGING ... Newcastle's James Perch and Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta battle for the ball.
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JAMES Perch insists Newcastle United can take heart from ‘more than matching’ one of the best teams in the world when they face QPR in a crunch clash this weekend.

The Magpies went toe to toe with Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday before losing 3-1.

It left them suffering from mixed emotions, with Perch admitting he was both ‘gutted’ and ‘pleased’ after the game.

But the defender believes United can take encouragement from the performance – especially in the second half when they pulled a goal back and had Roberto Mancini’s big-spending side wobbling – ahead of QPR’s visit to Tyneside.

“I think most of us were gutted,” said Perch.

“Even though they had the better of the first half, I thought we came back in the second half and got the early goal that we said we needed.

“Then we kicked on and it looked as though we were going to score again.

“But they got the sucker punch of the third goal, which knocked the wind out of us and killed the game.

“We’ve got to be pleased though, especially with the second half. That’s when we played our best.

“I think we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit in the first half by not playing as well as we can do for a spell of 15, 20 minutes.

“But we were up against the champions, and more than matched them for long periods of the game.

“They were just a bit more ruthless than us.

“By the end, our emotions were all over the place, especially when you’ve got the fans staying behind to clap us off, because they saw us put a great shift in second half.

“For me, I was gutted and felt like we didn’t deserve to lose.

“But at the same time, they maybe played a bit better than us and took their chances better than us.”

Meanwhile, United have once again been linked with Marseille striker Loic Remy, though sources suggesting talks between the two clubs are premature.