Steven Taylor

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Steven Taylor cut an angst-ridden figure following Saturday's defeat at Chelsea - and admitted that Newcastle paid the price for a below-par first half display.

United were 2-0 down at half-time to Eden Hazard's penalty and Fernando Torres' strike and despite a much improved showing in the second period, the damage had already been done.

So although he was encouraged by the dramatic improvement after the break, the defender did not try to put a positive spin on the way the team performed before the interval.

"It couldn't have been any worse than the first half," he told nufc.co.uk after emerging from a disappointed dressing room.

"We didn't turn up in the first half, it's as simple as that. For us there was no energy on the pitch, or belief.

"The second half was much, much better and I think we bossed it be fair.

"When we got the ball in the last 15 minutes, there were some good chances there and that could have got us going. You could see Chelsea at times struggling a little bit and we had them on the back-foot a few times and I think we caused them some problems.

"But we can't afford to have 45 minutes like that every week. We paid the price first half.

"We probably gave them too much respect and let them have too much of the ball. That's what hurt us and we can learn from that and just get on with the next game."

It was a second game in three days for Alan Pardew's side, coming less than 48 hours after the Europa League tie against Atromitos in Greece.

But although the likes of Vurnon Anita, Papiss Cisse, Ryan Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez played in both matches, Taylor insisted tiredness was no excuse.

"Not at all," he said. "We've had players who have been rested and we tried to get going, but it took us 45 minutes.

"And when you come to places like Chelsea, you can't afford to give them a 45 minute head start.

"So we will look at that game again and ask a few questions. They're a good team and they've got good players, but we've also got a good team so hopefully we can bounce back next week."

Aston Villa are the next Barclays Premier League opponents for Newcastle, with the Villans coming to the Sports Direct Arena next Sunday afternoon.

The opening fixture of the season against Tottenham was a sell-out and tickets for the clash against the claret and blues are on sale here.

And Taylor called on the Gallowgate faithful to help cheer their team back to winning ways.

"Back at our stadium, that's what it's all about for us - getting back that winning mentality and hopefully trying to push on," he said.

"And with the support we've got, that will help us so hopefully we'll get a full house."