Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has said he faces a “testing” spell after his side suffered a 2-1 defeat to local rivals Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Sunderland recorded their first win of the season thanks to a late strike from Fabio Borini, and Pardew said it was “tough to take” as the Black Cats recorded back-to-back victories over the Magpies for the first time since 1966-1967, having beaten them at St James’ Park towards the end of last season.
But Pardew backed his players to bounce back -- something they struggled to do after last season’s Sunderland defeat -- in tough games against Manchester City, in the Capital One Cup, and Chelsea.
“I think we’ve got a group that’s experienced and I thought last time round, it’s different to this,” he told The Journal. “We’ve got a better group and I think we’ll bounce back.
“But we’ve got two tough games and we’ve got to make sure we’re solid because these are two or three games that are going to test us.
“I hope the fans will be supportive of us on Wednesday. We’re very disappointed, as you’d imagine. When you concede a goal in the 84th minute after you’ve bossed the game, it’s tough to take.
“When we got the equaliser, the more the game went on, the more control we got. If we’d got the second goal, the game would have been over.”
The Newcastle boss criticised referee Lee Probert, saying he did not believe Sunderland should have been given the free-kick from which they went on to score the winner.
“That was definitely not a free kick in my opinion," he said. "The linesman has given a throw, the referee gave a foul and one or two of ours switched off.”