Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has confirmed Yohan Cabaye will start against Cardiff on Saturday after shaking off injury concerns.
Cabaye, 27, was a half-time introduction for Newcastle as they lost 3-2 to Everton at Goodison Park on Monday night. Left out of the starting lineup as a precaution after picking up a knock against Hull City in the club’s previous match, Cabaye scored a delightful goal just minutes into his arrival which almost sparked a comeback from the Magpies.
It was a goal that impressed his manager, who told Sky Sports News afterwards: "He's a class act. We had a long chat, me and him, yesterday about him starting and we both felt he wasn't quite right for 90 minutes.
"He was terrific in the second half and he hasn't had any problems coming off, so he's an absolute banker for Cardiff. That's what I'm looking at. We need that sort of performance, that kind of 90 minutes he gives me with the quality."
However, Pardew was left less than impressed by his side’s defensive showing. Conceding three times during the first half, it was perhaps the third goal, which saw Tim Howard’s goal kick bounce through the Newcastle back four that disturbed Pardew the most. Admitting his side were playing for pride in the second half, the Newcastle boss insisted his defence made it hard work with their first-half display.
"You can’t concede goals like that at this level I’m afraid," he told the Evening Chronicle. "We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. We had more or less the same players in the second half but for two changes at half-time.
"There was a change of attitude. There was a tackle won, a header won and it makes all the difference. Then suddenly we’re back in it. Really and truly all we had to play for was pride in the end. Those goals in the first half, I’m sorry -- we can’t defend like that."
Asked whether a draw would have papered over cracks in his back four, Pardew said: "I don’t know because we’re hot and cold.
"We were a different team in the second half. There were nine players from the first half and they were complete contrasts. We have to get rid of that inconsistency. We have to remind the players that we can’t have that at Newcastle. It has to be 90 minutes, a proper 90 minutes.
"We didn’t have that against Hull and we did it again last night, and we got the same result. What was said at half-time was more about personal pride than anything else. That goes in hand in hand. Our fans are disappointed and rightly so after that first half, there’s no shadow of a doubt. The players responded and that is one good thing."
Those sentiments were echoed by striker Loic Remy, who said the club let the fans down on Monday night.
"It was a long journey last night for them [the fans] too," Remy told the Evening Chronicle. "The group is disappointed as much as them. But the fans still supported us all the game. We heard them a lot in the second half. They continued to support the team.
"I’m sure we’ll do better at Cardiff for them. I’m very, very disappointed. It’s difficult. The difference between the first half and the second half was like night and day. The gaffer changed two players, and there was a big difference between the two halves. We conceded three goals. We could have done better for the goals.
"It’s difficult when you concede three goals. After that, we scored two goals, but it wasn’t enough. We were all disappointed. We had good things in the game too. The second half was much better in terms of intensity and quality. You know when you concede three goals it’s difficult. In the future we have to do better, we know that.
"When Cabaye came in, he was very good. He scored a fantastic goal. It changed the game, I think. It’s difficult. I scored, and then I had a good situation in front of the goal, I kicked with my left foot, and missed the goal -- it was a bit like Hull."