MIKE Williamson insists Newcastle United did not underestimate Brighton and Hove Albion – despite being knocked out of the FA Cup by the Seagulls for the second time in under a year.
The Championship side were 2-0 winners, putting the Magpies out at the third round – one stage earlier than in 2012.
Injury-hit Newcastle fielded a team with an average age of 23 but Williamson – who took the captain’s armband after Shola Ameobi’s 64th-minute red card – is adamant their attitude was right.
He said: “They’re a good team, Brighton, we knew that. We didn’t underestimate them.
“We knew what they were about but we didn’t have enough to match them and that’s the disappointment.
“We were found lacking in every area.
“You’re young, you want to make an impression, sometimes you have days like this.”
However, the centre-back revealed Alan Pardew is trying to instill a harder edge into his players as they look to “grind” themselves out of relegation trouble.
Williamson added: “We want to be an offensive team going forward but we need to tighten up at the back.
“The last few games have shown that. It’s a mentality the gaffer is training into us.
“The players and the staff have to keep digging deep and stick together.
“This defeat wasn’t for the lack of effort. The lads worked their socks off but we’re down to the bare bones.
“There’s no hiding that, we’re in a difficult patch.
“We have injuries and we have to make do. We just have to grind it out.
“We’re down to the bare bones but it does give other players a chance.
“Dummy (debutant Paul Dummett) came in and was exceptional and that was a real plus point. He has a bright future.”
There is a feeling at St James’ Park the Magpies have been dealt a bad hand by Lady Luck this season.
They would do well to stop dwelling on it, but it is a feeling Williamson shares.
He said: “The whole city feels defeat. When we were on it last year it was vibrant and people were going to work happy people. This is a contrasting season.
“We’ve had everything go against us this year, whereas last year everything was dropping for us.”
GUS Poyet believes Liam Bridcutt is good enough to play for Real Madrid following his star turn in Brighton’s 2-0 FA Cup third-round victory over Newcastle.
Poyet fears Bridcutt has become highly sought-after and insists he would even hold his own at Spanish giants Real.
The Seagulls manager said. “Other clubs can ask about him because it’s part of the game. If I was coach of Real I would take him because he deserves to play at the highest level.”