By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew believes his Newcastle United side ran out of steam as they slipped to a 7-3 defeat away at Arsenal on Saturday night.
Level at three apiece with just 20 minutes remaining at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners went goal crazy, netting four times in the closing stages to put the match well out of United's grasp.
And Pardew reckons the effects of a gruelling Boxing Day fixture at Manchester United just three days previous - when Arsenal were without a game - took its toll on his injury-hit squad.
"I felt that for 70 minutes we were more than a match (for Arsenal) and at 3-3 it was about closing out the game," the boss told nufcTV following the final whistle.
"We just couldn't do it. We just didn't have enough legs on the pitch.
"The scoreline certainly flatters them, but the rest they had in the week was always going to tell at some point, and in that last 20 minutes we just ran out of energy.
"We did terrific for 65-70 minutes. We are still conceding soft goals and we know we have to improve in that area, but the end left a sour taste.
"We got ourselves in two great positions to get something out of the game, and at 2-2 I was just desperate to make us tighter. But we couldn't get tight for whatever reason, and that is something we have to sort out.
"I can't get away from the scoreline - it doesn't reflect well on us."