Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has bemoaned recent injuries to his squad, insisting the team that lost 2-0 to Brighton was the weakest since his arrival at the club.
Key personnel Yohann Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and club captain Fabricio Coloccini are all currently sidelined, while first-choice striker Papiss Cisse is struggling with a knock and top goalscorer Demba Ba recently left for Chelsea.
And Pardew believes he was left with a limited number of players with the required level of quality or experience to take part in the FA Cup third-round tie, before drawing comparisons with last year’s competition exit.
"Every time the cup fixture comes out, we are depleted," Pardew told the Evening Chronicle.
"We were depleted at Stevenage, depleted at Brighton last year and even more depleted this year. That is the weakest team I’ve had to pick from in terms of player experience and top-quality players.
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"The younger players gave everything they could, but they should be in our development team – not our first team. I thought we had inconsistencies from the players because they are young. Sammy Ameobi did some good things but some naive things. Bigi [Gael Bigirimana] and [Vurnon] Anita were great."
And Pardew rued the dismissal of the most experienced member of Saturday’s matchday squad, as Shola Ameobi was given his marching order following two bookable offences.
"He should not have been sent off," Pardew added.
"The second yellow card was a complete overreaction from their player and it tipped the balance."