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Dutch courage needed ahead of Cardiff as Anita defends boss
VURNON ANITA wants supporters to blame the players just as much as Alan Pardew after back-to-back Premier League defeats which have placed greater importance on this Saturday’s tricky trip to Cardiff City.
Angry Magpies fans sang for their money back before half-time at Goodison Park on Monday night after watching Everton embarrass the Tyneside club in an incredible 45 minutes of football.
The Toffees claimed a three-goal lead but could quite easily have been six or seven in front as Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas humiliated a backline fielding internationals Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini, Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon.
Even though Newcastle showed resilience and spirit to come from behind to lose 3-2 against the Toffees, the manner of the first half display was of great concern to fans just 16 days after a home defeat to Hull City bearing the same scoreline.
Club sources insisted last night that suggestions Pardew had offered to quit in the immediate aftermath of the defeat were rubbish.
Such wild claims are only likely to intensify if Newcastle do not climb the table soon after the summer arrival of director of football Joe Kinnear.
But Anita, Newcastle’s best performer from the start against Everton, said: “It is not just about the manager, it is about the whole team. We all want to win here as well, the fans as well. I understand that and we must improve and put it on the pitch on Saturday.
“You cannot underestimate anyone in the Premier League so Cardiff will be tough. But that game is like a Champions League game for us now, it is so important. We must give it our all.
“To get rid of this inconsistency we will watch what we did wrong and improve on it on the training ground. Then we must put it out on the field on Saturday - that is the main thing for us now.”
Newcastle have now lost half of their opening six Premier League matches this season and sit just three points above the bottom three.
Such a situation is frustrating for Pardew and the fans, having seen Newcastle start the campaign brightly after an opening weekend defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad.
While Newcastle have turned in good displays, the contrast in performance in the two halves at Everton was indicative of the problems Newcastle are currently facing, Anita said: “The real Newcastle United is the team of the second half (at Everton), of course - not the first half. A couple of weeks ago we were doing very well and people were talking about us.
“Now we have lost two games but we must recover from this and show the real Newcastle. The table looks worrying now, I admit. It is a must-win game and I know that we will do much better at Cardiff.”
He added: “In the first half at Everton we conceded poor goals, the second half was much better. The manager told us in the second half that we had to do better to prove something, which we did but it was not enough. Football is about two halves but we only played second half, which is not good.
“There were harsh words in the dressing room at half-time but they were the right things. You could see in the second half we did better so it was the right words for us.”
Anita continues to be one of the positives to emerge from Newcastle’s performances in recent weeks. While the likes of Cheik Tiote, Moussa Sissoko and Yohan Cabaye all struggle to deliver week in and week out, the little Dutchman is doing enough to stay in the team.
The former Ajax midfielder said: “It went well in the second half but as I say we must look at the first half as well. That has to be good and we must keep on improving to go on.
“It is nice for me that I’m still in the team. I must keep on going and show myself. I am delighted to get minutes but I know that I cannot rest on what I have done. I must play well every week.”
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