Alan's Exhortation

Alan Pardew is looking for the players to get the crowd going on Saturday - rather than the other way round.

Looking at Tuesday's defeat by Stoke, he says:

"The crowd sensed at the start of the first half that it wasn't great and made their feelings known but in the second half they couldn't have done more to get try and get us going - you couldn't say they weren't doing their bit, they were fantastic.

"In the second period and they almost inspired us to do something and they started us off rather than us starting them off - and it has got to be the other way round."

Alan admits he was surprised by the performance on Tuesday and adds:

"It is so disappointing when we looked like we had turned the corner with the games against Wigan and West Brom.

"Then we turned in a performance like that which was hard to fathom out; I spoke to the players and they are mystified by it but that is not the answer and we have to react to it.

"But there is nothing we can do about it now, it is gone; our fans deserve better and there were times when it looked like we lacked commitment.

"That wasn't the case but we looked lethargic and I think Saturday Sunderland will bring a lot more energy to the pitch than Stoke did, who defended very deep with nine men.

"Sunderland will play more attacking game, and that will suit us I think.

"We attacked the game on Tuesday and they had a few scary moments, but not as many as you would have wished for with us being the home team.

"We didn't have the catalyst on the night, someone to open them up - and that was disappointing."

A case, perhaps, of whistling in the wind...