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The Magpies boss believes fans will better understand the use of a 4-5-1 formation after struggling at White Hart Lane in the absence of Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote

Alan Pardew admitted his Newcastle squad has limitations after Saturday’s heavy 5-0 defeat away to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Spurs were four goals to the good by half time after overwhelming the Magpies, who went into the game fielding a 4-4-2 formation after finding themselves short of options in central midfield.

Cheik Tiote was playing for Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations, while his regular central midfielder partner Yohan Cabaye was absent through suspension.

“It hurt that Cabaye wasn’t playing [against Tottenham],” Pardew told the Chronicle, after he started versatile defender James Perch alongside Danny Guthrie in central midfield behind Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse in a two-man attack.

The Toon boss had received criticism in recent weeks over the use of a high defensive line in a 4-5-1 formation and the lack of opportunities given to mercurial playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, and he went on to explain these decisions and accept responsibility for the optimistic selection at Spurs.

“We have two good strikers but they didn’t have a chance at Spurs. Papiss isn’t going to win you the game when you’re 2-0 down after five minutes.

“We need to be able to cope with having two strikers. The Press and the fans have criticised us when we have played 4-5-1 at times this year. Now they understand why.”

The Tyneside club are one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Chelsea, but are well behind on goal difference, and the scale of the defeat represents a setback to their aims of Champions League qualification.

Pardew commented: “It was a game for us that we could lose. The unfortunate thing is the manner of it and the scoreline, because the goals against column isn’t looking so pretty. That might be crucial in 13 games time. We will have to wait and see.”

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