Stoke City (a) Premier League
6mins: Janmaat made a half-hearted challenge on Moses out on the left wing and the Stoke man was able to skip past and deliver a cross that was meat and drink for beanpole Crouch who guided his header beyond Krul. Crouch's marker, Coloccini, was rooted to the spot as the goalscorer timed his leap to meet the centre. 0-1
time: Potters 1 Magpies 0
"Itís been tough because you want the fans to be behind you. They are questioning everything I do and thatís understandable, but I have to remain strong and makes sure Iím giving the team everything I can.
"It leaves us in the bottom three. We've got to fight, I've got to fight and the teamís got to fight and thatís what weíll continue to do until we turn it round.
"I donít expect a serious conversation with Mike Ashley tonight but I think weíll have some serious conversations before Saturday, because he doesn't want to lose and nor do I.
"Itís important that I showed to the team that I'm here to lead.
"I've never really been in this
situation before - itís unique - but Iím a professional football manager.
Thatís what I do, and thatís what Iíll continue to do.
"Itís a tough place to come (is) Stoke on any given day, but today was tough for us.
"There were slight margins in the game but unfortunately another defeat for us and you canít keep getting beat so weíre going to have to address that.
"That's been our problem probably for most of the season really (the final third letting them down).
"We've got to find a little bit more quality there. Our delivery, our method a little bit let us down in that area. We're going to need to make a couple of changes I think to the starting 11 to give ourselves a bit more thrust.
"We just need something in that final area, someone to create the moment. We've had a few chances tonight. Unfortunately tonight we weren't able to get that.
"It leaves me in charge of the team
until Iím told Iím not. Thereís a lot of pressure on me and thatís
reflected in the team a little bit but Iíve got to be strong and resilient.
"Weíre losing games and I have to turn it
around. Thereís criticism and mocking of some description and youíve got to be
strong and get on with it."
For once, history didn't repeat itself.
The verdict from the away end was less than positive and while many voiced their discontent, a good proportion of those others present suffered in silence - unwilling to join in the lynch mob but unable to back what they're asked to believe is a credible football team. That feelgood factor from last week's cup win has rapidly been misplaced somewhere between South London and Staffordshire.
A first half header from Peter Crouch decided the contest and although United wore new shirts, their old failings saw them beaten here against a mediocre Potters side for the third successive season.
The result mirrored our reverse here in April and again it was a cross from the left in front of the away fans that did the damage - although the ball was headed past Tim Krul tonight, rather than drifting over his head.
Stoke had chances to increase their lead and they could have been presented with one from the spot had referee Craig Pawson punished Yoan Gouffran for a reckless challenge on Victor Moses.
Moussa Sissoko went close seconds later as his drive just cleared the angle and Daryl Janmaat almost equalised a minute before the break but his effort from distance was tipped wide of the post by Asmir Begovic.
City almost doubled their advantage two minutes after the break but substitute Marko Arnautovic's drive thumped against the post and was cleared.
Papiss Cisse had replaced the Emmanuel Riviere at the break but deployed in a solo role, neither striker ever looked like emulating their previous games which had seen them both notch twice. Having scored twice at Palace, the substitution will have done little to boost the former Monaco striker who again lacked support and service and certainly wasn't to blame for the half time score.
Krul saved well from Moses but despite Gabriel Obertan replacing the atrocious Gouffran and Sammy Ameobi coming on for the floundering Remy Cabella, United were still showing no signs of getting back on terms.
But with just over five minutes remaining Jack Colback had a glorious chance to grab a point for Pardew but after the ball fell kindly to him, the midfielder somehow managed to hit the bar from inside the six yard box. Obertan found some good positions down the right as the final whistle approached, but his crosses were unable to pick out the few green and blue shirts in the area.
The end of the game was greeted with further boos and chants calling for the manager's dismissal and while Ashley turned away with what appeared to be more than disappointment, Pardew's pitchside walk past the away fans was a distinctly uncomfortable one.
Running the gauntlet of abuse, choosing to applaud the travelling contingent was both ill-timed and ill-judged - soon adding insult to injury with post-match interviews consisting of the same old empty rhetoric, reinforcing the suspicion that he's merely going through the motions.
Few among the fanbase believe his patter anymore and it increasingly seems like that's the case in his dressing room - comments from Mike Williamson about Pardew retaining "100% support" having a hollow ring to them and reminiscent of Chris Hughton's last days at SJP. Fabricio Coloccini's quotes meanwhile should be taken in the context of him being among viable candidates to succeed Pardew.
Along with the Villa, Palace and Hull games, tonight represents one more wasted opportunity to earn three precious points. And given a fixture programme between now and the next transfer window that appears rather more challenging than our opening six games, if you can't win games like these then just where are points going to come from?
If Pardew insists on the clearly ineffective 4-2-3-1 formation then he deserves to be jettisoned. It clearly doesn't suit the personnel available to him and creating clear-cut chances is something we are manifestly incapable of doing, placing additional strain on a failing defence to be bullet proof.
Employing the old "W" formation from the 50s or trying a 2-0-8 formation as a final hurrah at Swansea as a has got to be preferable to what is being served up at the moment.
The levels of support, encouragement or abuse are immaterial - the old adage about the crowd being the 12th man assumes that there are 11 on the field already. That's patenlty not the case.
This is an average team being organised badly and playing terribly. Something has to give.