Davide Santon

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

A devastated Davide Santon admitted that Newcastle let slip "a big chance" to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford after losing 4-3 to the league leaders having taken the lead three times.

The Italian international was proud of the way the Magpies played against Sir Alex Ferguson's side but was left floored by a last-minute Boxing Day blow from Javier Hernandez.

James Perch had given the visitors a fourth minute lead before Jonny Evans equalised, but the defender then put through his own net to give Newcastle a half-time lead.

Full-back Patrice Evra drove the Reds level but Papiss Cisse silenced the Stretford End before Robin Van Persie equalised yet again. Then, in the dying seconds, Hernandez poked home what proved to the the winner in a dramatic end to a magnificent match.

And Santon told nufc.co.uk: "We had a really big chance to win this game but the last ten minutes were good for Manchester United and they won while we come back to Newcastle with zero points.

"I think people thought Newcastle would go to Manchester United and come back with zero points but we really had a chance to win the game.

"We were confident because last week we won against QPR so when you win, for the next game you always have confidence. You have a winning mentality.

"Today was like that. We came here to get the result but in the final minutes we were beaten and we're really disappointed because we should have won.

"It was always 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 to Newcastle again, 2-2, then 3-2 to Newcastle when Papiss scored, so we're very disappointed to end up with nothing."

The Magpies now face another daunting test against Arsenal at the Emirates in three days time as a tough set of festive fixtures continues.

And Santon said: "It's a really sad day but now we have to think about the next game.

"We're disappointed but I think if we can still go into the next game against Arsenal with the mentality to win.

"If we play the same as we did today - especially in the first half - we can win the game.

"Like today, we'll go with a winning mentality and I think we can win the game."

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