• Premier League

Shearer: Newcastle were lucky to lose by three

ESPN staff
April 15, 2013

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has said in his Sun column that his former club were "lucky to get away with conceding three" in their humbling Tyne-Wear derby defeat.

Sunderland enjoyed a 3-0 victory at St James' Park - their biggest success in the derby since 1979 - to give manager Paolo Di Canio his first win.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said ahead of the game that Thursday's Europa League match with Benfica would put his team at a "disadvantage", and after the match he cited an injury to goalkeeper Tim Krul as well as Papiss Cisse's wrongly disallowed goal as reasons for the defeat.

However, Shearer said he felt Newcastle had been undone by a lack of desire, in part down to the recent influx of signings from France.

"Sometimes in life you have to hold up your hands and say: 'We were poor' - however much it hurts," he said. "Newcastle did not deserve anything from the game, and the biggest concern for any fan was seeing the players in the red and white shirts wanting it more.

"The French guys who came into the Newcastle team have been doing well, but it didn't look like they realised the magnitude of this fixture.

"Generally, it has been much better since they arrived at the club in January and they have been playing well - but maybe they didn't understand the derby, as they didn't perform."

Shearer had a brief stint in charge of Newcastle at the end of the 2008-09 season when he tried, in vain, to save the club from relegation. Di Canio has been given a similar brief at Sunderland, and Shearer feels the Italian deserves credit for preparing the players.

"Paolo Di Canio had his players wound up for the day, so you have to say congratulations," he said. "He has had a tough time for differing reasons in the first couple of weeks in charge. They found it tough against Chelsea, but that will be forgotten after this result.

"Di Canio did his job and his players also showed the same passion for the game as their manager. That is a massive result for them as they were in real danger.

"Sunderland proved to their manager they do not want to go down, but if you didn't know the league table you would think Newcastle were the ones bang in trouble. Their defending was poor, there was no creativity in midfield and Toon were poor up front as well. They never got started in the first half and deserved to be a goal down at the break.

"The decision to disallow Papiss Cisse's effort will probably be mentioned in the aftermath, but that would be masking over the fact it was a poor performance. To be honest, we were lucky to get away with conceding three.

"I think even the staunchest Newcastle fans, including myself, cannot say anything different."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.