ALAN Pardew admits turning round Newcastle United’s faltering Premier League season will be the biggest challenge he’s faced at the club.
Southampton inflicted a third successive domestic defeat on Pardew’s side at the St Mary’s Stadium yesterday.
Goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez gave Nigel Adkins’s side a comfortable 2-0 win.
And on recent form – one win from eight Premier League games – the injury and suspension-hit club will struggle to finish in the top half of the table, let alone again challenge for a European place.
The result saw the club end the weekend 14th in the division – and just four points above the relegation zone. Asked if Pardew was faced with the biggest challenge yet of his tenure at United, he told the Gazette: “For sure – there’s no doubt about that.
“We’re really having to fight.”
Lallana gave Southampton the lead late in the second half after a spell of pressure from the hosts.
After Vurnon Anita and Davide Santon forced saves from Paulo Gazzaniga, Ramirez put the game beyond a disjointed Newcastle with a 60th-minute strike.
And United were fortunate Southampton didn’t add to their advantage, with Jose Fonte and Puncheon both hitting the woodwork.
“When we conceded the goal, we showed a little bit of spirit, but it was too little, too late,” added Pardew.
“We could have had an equaliser at a crucial time with Vurnon.
“Their goalie made a great save from Santon. But it was too little, too late, really.
“They had a greater intensity than us in the game. We struggled to contain them at times. It was disappointing.”
Pardew must now mentally patch-up his battered side ahead of Wednesday night’s visit to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City.