Norwich City (a) Premier League
Half time: Canaries 0 Magpies 0
"It was a more favourable result for us than for Norwich as they were the home side. It was two teams that worked hard and restricted the opposition. For us it was important to get a clean sheet. I had the luxury of putting some senior players on the pitch and the result showed that.
"That was a key game. We have Reading at home and Aston Villa away
coming up so it is an important time for us.
"With the two games we have next we have a chance to gain some momentum. It was a really important day today. Then we have Chelsea at home (after Reading at home and Villa away).
"If we have our best players available then we will give them a good game. Getting (Yohan) Cabaye back was a massive lift for us. He had 20 minutes today and he will start next week.
'He (Coloccini) was excellent today. Of the four centre -halves on the pitch he was the most assured. He gave us that calmness in the heat of battle and you need that. We will speak to him this week and we will resolve that situation.
"We are pursuing three or four players and they all seem to be
warming up a bit. We need a bigger pool of players, but coming here today was
always going to be difficult. Norwich are very efficient at set-plays and
crosses, but we defended really well as a team.
Newcastle produced one of their
poorest Premier League performances of the season but thankfully it was more
than matched by their below-par hosts, as both sides drew a blank at Carrow
And despite the pre-match revelations about Fabricio Coloccini's desire to return to Argentina, he played and performed well as both defences came out on top in a game of remarkably few chances.
Gabriel Obertan went closest for United in the 17th minute when he hit a snapshot that Mark Bunn parried but apart from that and a weak effort from the isolated Papiss Cisse, there was little else to show a first half that the visitors dominated without showing any menace.
Tim Krul had a quiet first period, only coming out to smother one through ball and James Perch was crucially able to nip the ball off Wes Hoolahan's toe as he shaped to shoot in the 21st minute.
There were no changes for either side at the break but Yohan Cabaye made a welcome return from injury in the 56th minute after an absence of ten Premier League games. He replaced the ineffective Obertan and although not playing at full intensity, his presence visibly lifted both colleagues and fans, prompting our best period as the marooned Cisse at last got a semblance of support.
What remained glaringly absent throughout the game though was our ponderous, pace-free attack that threatened nobody and gave old boy Sebastien Bassong and his defensive pals the nearest thing to an afternoon off that you'll get in this league.
A five man midfield was too often a nine man defence, with Obertan rarely gaining possession and Marveaux flitting in and out to no great purpose. The greatest disappointment though was the recalled Gutierrez, who seems to have nothing in the tank, at least offensively. He's actually now stopped winning as he's not dangerous enough to be fouled.
Russell Martin hit the outside of Krul's post with a speculative volley from distance after nobody tried to close him down and ex-Magpie boss, Chris Hughton, introduced Grant Holt minutes later - fitness problems meaning that he wasn't fit enough to start and repeat his one-man demolition of our makeshift defence on Newcastle's last visit.
Debuchy - who had shown an eye for a pass - marked his debut with a booking and was warned by referee Anthony Taylor for another challenge. At the other end though, our usual nil return from corner kicks continued, with only a volleyed return of one from Coloccini worthy of being called a chance - and well over the crossbar.
Krul managed to spread himself well to block an effort from Anthony Pilkington before City's best chance of the game came in added time when Holt rose highest and Pilkington almost got a crucial touch at the far post.
That would have been harsh on Pardew's side though, with a reasonable shift rightly rewarded, despite an obvious lack of confidence. Ending a run of defeats was the first priority and in terms of halting our concerning leakage of goals, a 0-0 was probably preferable to 1-1.
Although it's another point towards safety, results at the foot of the table could have been kinder to United, QPR stonewalling Spurs and Southampton winning at Villa Park. We ended the day in 16th and remain just two points above the bottom three, sharing with Reading the stigma of being without an away win in the league this season.
The Royals have the chance to end their run at SJP next weekend and came up with three late goals to beat West Bromwich Albion at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday. Quite who will be in the side that faces them remains to be seen though, with continued doubts as to whether Coloccini will be available to play and the apparent loss of top target Loic Remy to relegation rivals QPR.
The United captain acknowledged the travelling support after the final whistle, but did so along with the rest of his team mates - no symbolic shirt tossing or suchlike (although Cabaye's chemise did end up in the away section).
Given the awfulness of our 2-4 loss here last season and the fact that this result was superior to that achieved by both Arsenal and Manchester United here in the current campaign, a point here was a credible return.
However this result is nothing more than a fleeting and temporary respite - and certainly one that won't be received as warmly if repeated at Aston Villa later this month. Before that though lies the visit of Reading, the epitome of a must-win game.