Pardew's best efforts lost in translation as Le Fondre throws Reading a lifeline
Newcastle 1 Reading 2:The latest setback in Newcastle United’s season can be attributed to a combination of poor communication and bad timing. Alan Pardew claims to speak “a little” French and Yohan Cabaye’s English is much improved. Even so, things clearly got lost in translation between the manager and his best midfielder when a misunderstanding over fitness helped precipitate a damaging defeat.
Cabaye had started his first game in more than two months after a groin operation but, while Pardew believed the afternoon’s outstanding individual would complete 90 minutes, his playmaker had different ideas.
Newcastle led 1-0 thanks to Cabaye’s fine free-kick when, in the 66th minute, Pardew replaced Sylvain Marveaux with James Perch. The idea was to swap creativity with defensive grit but a hitherto supportive crowd booed its disapproval and five minutes later a Reading substitute, Adam Le Fondre, equalised.
Almost immediately Cabaye began gesturing to the bench, rotating his hands to signal that he needed to be withdrawn, and only nine minutes after Marveaux’s exit he too headed off for a hot shower.
On came the young, inexperienced defensive Gael Bigirimana and two minutes later Le Fondre shot Reading’s winner.
Without Cabaye and Marveaux Newcastle’s passing went horribly awry. Suddenly engulfed by nerves, they swiftly surrendered.
As Newcastle fans screamed “You don’t know what you’re doing” at Pardew the atmosphere turned toxic.
It was surely the manager’s most uncomfortable game at St James’ Park.
“The fans were very angry but they didn’t realise I needed to come off,” said Cabaye.
Earlier Newcastle’s striker Papiss Cisse might have claimed a hat-trick but Adam Federici made three brilliant saves before Brian McDermott’s inspired unleashing of two-goal hero Le Fondre.
“Adam cost us £300,000 [from Rotherham],” said Reading’s manager.
“You couldn’t buy his right sock for that now.”