Newcastle 3 Man United 0: City are in the driving seat, admits Sir Alex

Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester City have the advantage in the title race after Manchester United's 3-0 loss at St James' Park

Premier League, 4 January 2012, Sports Direct Arena
team1
Newcastle
3 - 0
team2
Man United

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Manchester City hold the advantage in the Premier League title race after Manchester United were beaten by Newcastle United on Wednesday.

The visitors fell behind in the 33rd minute when Demba Ba fired home a sublime finish – and French midfielder Yohan Cabaye doubled the home side’s lead with a superbly-executed free-kick two minutes after the break.

Ferguson brought on Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández as the United manager tried to spark a comeback but Newcastle’s victory was sealed by Phil Jones’ own-goal.

“We had our opportunity tonight,” Ferguson, whose side are three points adrift of leaders City, told Sky Sports. “They won their game last night and we lost ours tonight and it’s advantage them of course. The only positive for me is that we had two or three players back.

“It’s not a time to panic. We’ve got the patience and the experience to cope with that. Losing a game at this time of the year, of course you don’t want it but it can happen as we’ve seen with some of the results recently.

“Obviously we need to get the show on the road in terms of the run in, particularly in March and April.”

Ferguson praised Newcastle’s performance and defended goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, insisting the Magpies’ opening two goals were unstoppable.

“I think the story of the game was that they had two fantastic strikes which put them in control and they weren’t going to lose it,” added Ferguson.

“They scored a fantastic first goal and they really picked everyone up in the stadium. Their support got up and they got very aggressive against us and it was difficult for my side.

“It was a marvellous hit on the volley and the second one after half-time was the killer for us. [It was] a marvellous strike from the free-kick. We didn’t make enough of our possession of the ball.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew hailed his side’s performance and reserved special praise for Ba as the Senegal striker netted his 15th goal of the season.

“We had some outstanding performances individually,” said the Magpies boss. “And you’ve got to do that if you want to beat the champions.

“We wouldn’t let them play. I thought we took a bit of a gamble in terms of a high pressing game. And then obviously physically and aerially today we had an advantage and we capitalised on that.

“Demba Ba caused them problems – every time we put the ball in the box we knew he’d cause them problems. It was a great victory for us. We beat the champions 3-0 and we deserved that scoreline.”

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