ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United must “lick their wounds” – and get ready to go again at Old Trafford.
Pardew’s side lost a third successive derby against Sunderland yesterday.
Adam Johnson’s 90th-minute strike gave Gus Poyet’s team a 1-0 win.
The defeat followed heavy North London losses to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and Capital One Cup respectively.
Newcastle are ninth in the league ahead of their Boxing Day visit to Old Trafford, the scene of a 1-0 win almost a year ago.
However, Manchester United are a different proposition this season under Louis van Gaal.
And Pardew’s players must pick themselves up – and quickly.
“(Sunderland) was a key game, because the two fixtures that we had, Arsenal and Spurs, were difficult,” said Pardew.
“This game now compounds that, and we have to lick our wounds and prepare quickly for Manchester United.
“We have a tough run of games, and we knew that over this period.
“This was always going to be a critical fixture, so losing it is very disappointing.”
Pardew feels his team team remain well-placed in the league as the end of the year nears.
“We still find ourselves in a healthy place in the league, and the job now is to try and build on that,” he said.
Pardew gambled by taking off defensive midfielder Cheik Tiote late in the game.
“I think this club wants to see goals, and I’m never going to be the manager of this football team and accept a draw at home as a positive result, regardless of who it is against,” he said.
“But, we should still have the discipline in the team, regardless of how many offensive players we have on, to do the job.
“I’m not here to criticise my team. They gave everything – they tried to win it.
“If we’re ever going to lose a game, then we’d lose it in that manner, if I’m honest, trying to push for the win.”