Magpies boss believes that Cattermole set tone for ill-tempered game and offers apology for his own touchline antics after bust-ups with Black Cats boss Martin O'NeillNewcastle United manager Alan Pardew pointed the finger of blame at Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole after the 146th Tyne-Wear derby spiralled out of control.
Pardew claimed that the first-minute challenge by Cattermole on Cheikh Tiote that yielded a booking for the combative midfielder was the catalyst for a game that brought two goals, eight bookings and two dismissals, including his own.
The game between the two arch-rivals also saw a series of confrontations between Pardew and Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill and their backroom staff, which saw Newcastle goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman banished to the stands early in the second half.
Sunderland striker Stephane Sessegnon was sent off for elbowing Tiote and Cattermole was left facing a lengthy ban for swearing at referee following the final whistle that came shortly after Shola Ameobi had cancelled out Black Cats forward Nicklas Bendtner’s first-half penalty.
“I didn’t like the way the game started," Pardew told reporters. "The first tackle [by Cattermole] set the tone for the first half. It was premeditated. I was disappointed with it and he could have gone off at any other time.
“There was a physical pattern to the game and it was just a matter of who could keep their head and I was just hoping to get to half-time with 11 players.
“When they did get down and play, Sunderland were better and bossed us a bit but we changed it because we got wrapped up in the physical side of things and we had to get away from that.
“I was really frustrated at half-time with the attitude of both teams but in the second half the pressure started from the very first whistle. When you put pressure on like that something is going to give and I knew that someone was going to go if we put them under pressure.
“In the end it was an unlikely source because Stephane Sessegnon had been quite calm. I didn’t expect him to get sent off. Maybe one of two of the midfielders and then it was a case of whether we would get the two goals we needed.”
Pardew also played down the series of touchline bust-ups.
“Unless you are a manager or a player you do not understand the pressure there is on this game," he added. "There is a lot of emotion and that is why both games this season have been so tight.
“This is a passionate game. In terms of the mind-set of the other team, yeah, it frustrated us. I am not going to get away from that and maybe the benches could have handled the frustration better and we could have been a bit more grown up about it.
“But this is a game that gets you I’m afraid and if one or two or us – including myself – stepped over the line today I can only apologise for that but it happens.
“Let’s not all get carried away here. This has been a great game of football. Hat happens on the bench sometimes gets out of hand, silly things gets said and it happens all the time. I am not taking the moral high ground other than to say it was a bit unsavoury.”
Pardew strongly refuted O’Neill’s claims that his backroom staff had visited referee Mike Dean during the half-time break.
“It is completely untrue,” Pardew added. “None of our staff is allowed in the referees’ room. No one tried to enter it and no one did enter it. I heard that rumour and it is not right.
“But you shake hands at the end of the game and it is all forgotten. It will be in my case. He is upset about it. I am upset about it but I hope he comes in and has a glass of wine but I am told he’s gone.”