Ba: Magpies need to find right balance

Striker Demba Ba has admitted Newcastle need to find the right balance between defence and attack to turn their season around.

Football News: Davide Santon, Mike Williamson

The Senegal international's 11th goal of the season sparked a spirited fightback against champions Manchester City on Saturday, but ultimately counted for nothing as Roberto Mancini's men claimed a 3-1 victory at St James' Park.

Alan Pardew's side has now lost six of its last seven Barclays Premier League games, a run which has seen the club slip to within two points of the relegation zone.

And with a difficult run of fixtures ahead, Saturday's visit of QPR to Tyneside is assuming ever greater proportions.

However, Pardew and his players will take the positives from their second-half assault on City - Papiss Cisse came within inches of equalising two minutes after Ba had struck - and the former Hoffenheim frontman is convinced it will not be long before they are back to their best if they continue to produce the same effort and level of performance.

Asked about the reaction of the fans, who applauded the Magpies off the pitch, he said: "If they don't see it, we see it and we produce it and we are just going to keep on doing it because the day that turns around, we will be a good team again.

"We have put in some good performances in the last three or four weeks, but unfortunately, we just keep losing.

"We have to find the right balance between attacking and defending to stop conceding goals and start scoring even more.

"You just have to look in when you attack. You always have to keep in mind as a team that if you lose the ball, this is a team [City] that can counter very fast, and you have to find the right balance, and we didn't."

Newcastle got off to a promising start and had it not been for keeper Joe Hart, who got down sharply to turn away Cisse's early half-volley, they would have been ahead.

But the game changed with 10 minutes gone when Yaya Toure split the home defence with a delicious through ball which Samir Nasri turned into the path of Sergio Aguero, who slid it into the unguarded net.

The Magpies were visibly deflated as City took the game by the scruff of the neck with the movement of Nasri, Aguero, David Silva and Carlos Tevez, prompted by Yaya Toure, proving too much for them.

They doubled their advantage six minutes before the break through Javi Garcia's header, but when Ba powered Fabricio Coloccini's 51st-minute cross past Hart, the home side were back in the game.

Cisse's spin and shot only just failed to restore parity, but Yaya Toure made sure 12 minutes from time when he turned home Pablo Zabaleta's pull-back.

Ba said: "The way we started the game I thought we were going to win it, and then in their first attack after 10 minutes they scored.

"It was disappointing and in the second half it was the same exactly.

"We started attacking very well for 20 minutes and then all of a sudden they came out, and in their first attack in the second half they scored a goal. That's disappointing."

For all that Newcastle played a full part in an entertaining game, the fact remains that their points tally has rather stalled, and that is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue if they are to stand any chance of restoring themselves to the kind of position in which they finished last season.

They are currently nine points adrift of the fifth place which secured their return to European football at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, although Pardew admits he is looking over his shoulder rather than upwards at the moment.

He said: "From now until January, it's going to be a dogfight. We have got to accept that and dog our way out of it and make sure we beat QPR, and then hopefully get something at Manchester United.

"They are the next two that are on the agenda at the minute.

"In the last four games, it's very difficult to say that we have only got three points out of those last four games.

"You can just see there's not a lot really wrong, but unfortunately we haven't got a points total that reflects the work we are putting in.

"I was pleased with the fans on Saturday. They were patient with us and we are going to need them against QPR, for sure, to stay as patient as they were because it is going to be very, very important in that game that we get the right mood in this stadium."



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