LONDON (Reuters) - Alan Pardew suffered the ignominy of becoming the first Newcastle United manager to lose four successive Tyne-Wear derbies against Sunderland after Adam Johnson’s late goal subjected his team to more misery against their arch-rivals.
In a frenetic, feisty and highly-charged north east derby it was Johnson who again proved the thorn in Pardew’s side when he applied an emphatic finish after a slick Sunderland counter-attack.
It was the 27-year-old’s third successive derby goal -- against his boyhood club -- at St James’ Park which inflicted Pardew with the unwanted record.
“Losing four times in a row against Sunderland is a tag that is going to stick on me now so I will have to wear it,” Pardew, who has only beaten Sunderland once in eight attempts since taking over in Dec. 2010, told Sky Sports.
“We should be sitting here as winners but we have lost. We now have to regroup and take our second half form into the game against Manchester United.”
Ninth-placed Newcastle’s season has been one of great inconsistency.
After seven winless league games to start the season, five successive victories helped disperse the almost insurmountable discontent that had threatened to engulf St James’ Park.
Newcastle’s winning run gifted the 53-year-old a temporary reprieve from the circling vultures branding ‘Pardew Out’ placards but the Magpies have won just once in five games since then.
Despite ending Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season earlier this month, Pardew, who has endured a volatile relationship bordering on the irreparable with Newcastle’s Toon Army, knows he must remain resolute.
“Criticism that might come my way or the teams way, we will have to accept,” Pardew added. “We can’t listen or absorb it, we have to prepare ourselves for the next game.”
Newcastle travel to in-form Manchester United on Dec. 26.
Reporting By Tom Hayward, editing by Pritha Sarkar