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The Magpies narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification last term but are struggling to pick up points this time round and currently sit 14th in the Premier League

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted his side are "really having to fight" this season, after a difficult start to their Premier League campaign.

The Magpies launched a shock challenge for Champions League qualification last term but, following a 2-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday, currently sit 14th in the top flight.

And Pardew conceded that his side's loss to the newly promoted Saints typified their misfortune so far this season.

“There’s no doubt about that. We’re really having to fight," he told the Evening Chronicle. “When we conceded the goal, we showed a little bit of spirit but it was too little, too late.

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“We could have had an equaliser at a crucial time with Vurnon Anita. Their goalie made a great save from Davide Santon. But it was too little, too late, really.”

The Englishman bemoaned the absence of Yohan Cabaye and Fabricio Coloccini through injury, but is excited to welcome back the latter in midweek.

“We’ve got players, let’s be honest, that aren’t playing as well as we know they can,” continued Pardew.

“We’re struggling for a bit of confidence. We’re missing some key players, but one of them will be back on Wednesday night thank goodness.

“It looks like Steven [Taylor]’s going to miss out, so it’s one thing after another.”

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