Taylor, who came on as a second-half substitute, predictably took plenty of
While much of it was good natured, several thousand home fans repeatedly chanted, “Steven Taylor, we wish you were dead”, and O’Neill was not impressed.
“If that is what they were singing then it would be in very poor taste,” he said. “If I had heard that I would have been disappointed.” There were also reports of some equally unpleasant chants emanating from the away end concerning Sunderland’s suspended captain Lee Cattermole, but the Taylor song was easier to hear.
O’Neill was relieved to have rescued a point at the end of an insipid performance against opposition who played with 10 men for more than an hour following Cheick Tiote’s red card.
“Newcastle were strong and played to their strengths. Their two forwards were causing plenty of problems. The sending off allowed us an opportunity to get more poise into our game and to try and stretch them going wide. But we were anxious and were trying to play a ball that might not have existed. In the second half, sheer pressure yielded the goal, not any flamboyant brilliance. Maybe we had time to win it, but, in the circumstances, with Newcastle down to 10 men and having defended so strongly, that would have been harsh.
“It was a tough old game. I thought the players, our creative players, are finding it a bit tough at the moment. We need them back to what they are capable of doing.”
His opposite number, Alan Pardew, was far happier with the way his team played and hailed the performance of his captain, Fabricio Coloccini.
“It would have been one of the greatest ever victories here if we had held on but, just towards the end of the game, we tired and couldn’t keep the ball as we liked,” Pardew said.
“Maybe if Colo had stayed on we would have held on, he was phenomenal. If you want an example of a centre-half who can tackle, head it, kick it and have the calmness to play, that is your example. It was like watching Bobby Moore, it was terrific. I can’t take any negative at all. We talked about really kicking on in the dressing room after the game. I won’t look back and regret the result because as a group we showed we cared about the result against Sunderland as much as our supporters do.”
Pardew said he initially felt Tiote’s sending off was harsh but, after seeing replays, he chose not to argue with referee Martin Atkinson’s decision. “I’ve kind of accepted it after seeing it again. I know Cheick and there is absolutely no doubt he has not tried to do the player, he is just late and the referee deemed that a red. I was a bit surprised it was a red. He’s an excellent player and we sometimes have to accept he is going to get some tackles wrong.”