ALAN Pardew bemoaned the defensive blunders that cost Newcastle United at St James’s Park.
Manchester United won 3-0 yesterday thanks to goals from Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra and Tom Cleverley.
The first two strikes – both headers from set-pieces – all but won the game inside the first 15 minutes.
Evans opened the scoring when he lost marker Mike Williamson to head home a Robin Van Persie corner in the ninth minute.
And Evra got away from Papiss Demba Cisse to nod a Wayne Rooney flag kick past Steve Harper six minutes later.
Newcastle manager Pardew, without first-choice centre-halves Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor, was frustrated at his side’s early defending.
“As organised as we are, and the work we put in, we‘re gutted with the two goals,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“They were two set plays – it’s not like it was magical football.
“They were two great deliveries, but we should still defend better.”
Newcastle hardly saw the ball in the opening 20 minutes, and by the time they got into the game, they were trailing by two goals.
Pardew’s team went on to have spells of possession, but they couldn’t take the half chances that came their way.
The outcome, however, could have been different had Cisse’s shot early in the second half been adjudged to have crossed the line.
As it was, Cleverley ended any hopes of a comeback in the 71st minute when he struck a cross-cum-shot which sailed over a helpless Harper.
“For us it was a disappointing start,” added Pardew. “But you have to hold your hands up sometimes because they were on fire.
“We couldn’t get near the ball. Three or four decisions may have given us a release from the pressure, but they never come our way.
“We seemed to lose a few decisions. Everything was going against us.”