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The versatile 27-year-old insists that his team-mate would not be as effective if he were to change his game, despite his red card in their 1-1 draw against Sunderland

Newcastle defender James Perch insists that if Cheikh Tiote lost his aggressive nature then he would not be as effective following his red card in the draw against local rivals Sunderland.

The Ivorian saw red after a mistimed tackle on Steven Fletcher after 24 minutes and, after holding out with 10 men for over an hour, the Magpies subsequently conceded an unfortunate Demba Ba own goal and the game finished 1-1 - but Perch was quick to back his team-mate's style of play.

"You take that side of the game out of Cheikh and you don't get the same player," he told BBC Newcastle.

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"He's sorry that it happened and, if we'd had 11 men, who knows? We could have kicked on and won 2-0 or 3-0."

Including Tiote's dismissal this weekend, there have now been four red cards and the last three Tyne-Wear derbies, highlighting how fierce the rivalry is between these two clubs and their sets of fans.

The former Nottingham Forest player also echoed the sentiments of his manager in agreeing with referee Martin Atkinson's decision to brandish the red card.

"I saw it live, obviously, and you can't go round doing that," he added.

"It was a red card, I think, from my first view, I'd have to look at it again but it was just a bad tackle."

Despite restricting the Black Cats for so long with one fewer player, Perch admits to feeling aggrieved not to come away from the Stadium of Light without all three points.

He continued: "It's hard enough coming here with 11 men, but when you go down to 10 and keep the lead like we did, look secure, the feeling was more that we should have won.

"When the goals come like that it's so hard to take, and we played so well for 66 minutes.

"For it to happen in the last four or five minutes it's a blur, but when we do look back on it, we'll think that was a good point."

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