Everton (a) Premier League
Romelu Lukaku rounded off a swift-counter attack and
hammering the ball past Tim Krul from seven yards, fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas
having broken down the right wing and before providing the centre as Davide
Santon looked on in apparent admiration 0-1
"We needed to show second half that not only would we defend better that we'd have a little bit more ambition in our game and we showed that and almost apart from getting a bit of pride nearly got something out of the game as well which would have been a real blessing.
"But in the end, we had to take defeat from a first-half performance that I'm afraid wasn't good enough. You know, in football you have to put the ball in behind, you have to run in behind, you have to win headers, you have to win tackles. They're the kind of nuts and bolts of this game we love but we didn't do any of that first half, second half we did.
"The goals were poor, so poor, in
the first half, and defensively we've got to be better than we are at the
moment. But we've got goals in the team, and we've shown that tonight. We
had numerous chances apart from the two goals we've scored, but we've got to
tighten up, that's for sure.
"Some of the goals we've conceded this year really are not good enough for us - the consistency of performance individually and as a unit in the back four - we're gonna have to do some work and there might have to be some personal (sic) changes in there.
"I thought (Mike) Williamson come on and we looked a lot stronger for that and he's got a great chance of playing at Cardiff."
On Yohan Cabaye:
"It just goes to show that he's an important player for us. Me and him had a chat yesterday about him starting and we both felt probably he wasn't right for 90 minutes but thankfully he was alright for 45.
"Hopefully for Cardiff he'll be
alright to play because he's an important player. He's got real class and
he's the sort of player Newcastle fans love - we let them down first half
but kind of gained a tiny bit of respect back for our second half."
"I thought we were sensational in the first half. We defended extremely well and kept Newcastle to very little threat. Some of the attacking play was fascinating to see. I thought some of the link-up play between Romelu, Ross and Kevin was at its best.
"Sometimes when that happens, you can score too many goals. Sometimes you go in at the break with a one-goal lead that allows you to keep the tension.
"It was normal (that Newcastle responded) in the second half. Newcastle have some terrific individual players that you can get a reaction and momentum from. But after we conceded the first goal, I was pleased with the way we controlled the game. Newcastle had to take risks and they did that. Then you need to take your chances - we had two or three really good opportunities to do that.
"They had nothing to lose and we did. I am very pleased with the manner we held on for the three points. It was a completely different manner than in the first half in which we showed the style - we showed the greed in the second half.
"He's a young man (Lukaku) that has everything as a striker. Sometimes you see a number nine that is powerful and has great physical presence - I think what Romelu also brings is a great technical awareness of what's around him.
"He's really gifted in holding up play with his back to goal. That was our focal point today, but that understanding with Ross Barkley was magic at times. He's a great goalscorer and the reception that he had at Goodison made him a player that looked at home.
"I want him to enjoy his football, to develop and to become as good as he can be."
Perhaps it was the small turnout of travelling
supporters that meant no flares were discharged in the away end at Goodison on
Monday, but a few puffs of smoke blowing across the Park End goal might have
proved rather more of an obstacle to Everton than United's inept attempts at
At that point things looked bleak indeed for a United side whose sole response had been a weak effort from Hatem Ben Arfa and who served up a collective first half performance that bordered on the criminally negligent.
Lucky to be only three goals behind, our first defeat on the blue side of Stanley Park in three visits looked certain as did a further sizeable hole in our goal difference, given that our four, six and seven goal hammerings last season stemming from smaller half time deficits than tonight's.
That sense of despair was reflected by the number of away fans who preferred to remain drinking under the stand rather than come out to watch the second half. However they failed to witness a double replacement pay almost instant dividends: the woeful Yanga-Mbiwa making way for Mike Williamson and Cabaye replacing Ben Arfa, whose input had been equally non-existent.
Within minutes Gouffran had pinged a shot off
the inside of the post, before Cabaye let fly seconds later with a simply
stunning strike that flew over Howard into the top corner of the goal. That was
the French midfielder's first goal in 12 Premier League games, curtailing a
shutout record for the home side at Goodison that had stretched to 687 minutes
since a Reading goal last March.
Further chances to reduce the deficit opened up as Everton struggled to regain their first half rhythm, Remy looking certain to reach a tempting Davide Santon cross from the left, only for Phil Jagielka to deny him.
Having warmed up both Sammy Ameobi and Gabriel Obertan, Pardew then made his third change on 69 minutes, just as the comeback attempt was beginning to run out of steam. Cisse replaced Vurnon Anita to partner Remy, who had done what he could but looked increasingly isolated up front as the pace began to tell on Gouffran.
A rare free-kick awarded by the irritating Phil Dowd for handball by Gareth Barry then presented Cabaye with a shooting chance but he could only hit the wall. In the closing seconds of normal time though United struck again; Remy reaching Mathieu Debuchy's nod back to poke the ball home and set up a frantic finale.
Just one chance fell United's way in added time though, Remy taking possession on the edge of the box before blasting a fierce effort narrowly over the bar, dashing hopes of a second comeback here in as many seasons.
The defeat leaves Newcastle languishing in 16th position with seven points from their first six games - a total that may not increase greatly in the coming weeks. As was the case with last week's 2-3 loss to Hull City, the suspicion remains that we were undone by a side briefed by a simple scouting report - namely to place pressure on our full backs and wait for the implosion.
And while the second period managed to give a veneer of respectability to proceedings with Cabaye making a good impression, the apparent weakness of both Yanga-Mbiwa and Sissoko is cause for much concern - both punching well below their weight.
There's also a growing unease about the performances of Tim Krul; Everton's third goal seeing him inexplicably fail to meet and clear the incoming ball as it bounced - prompting some post-match speculation as to whether he feared colliding with Lukaku given his recent shoulder problems.
Having seen his beaten three times this season
by teams clad in blue, the United boss may be grateful that our next opponents
Cardiff have now adopted a red home kit, but a negative outcome on Saturday
could leave his superiors feeling decidedly off-colour.