Belfast Telegraph

Taylor calls for Toon to tighten up

Steven Taylor thinks Newcastle will lose again on Sunday if they do not tame the "beast" that is Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.

The pressure is back on Alan Pardew after his team stretched their losing streak to four matches in all competitions with a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United on Boxing Day.

Ayoze Perez and Daryl Janmaat had chances to score for the Magpies and the visitors were unlucky not to be given a penalty in the first half when Juan Mata tripped Yoan Gouffran.

Sloppy defending allowed United to bag all three points, much to Taylor's dismay.

The Newcastle defender felt his team-mates were too much in awe of the stellar cast of players on show for United.

"We made it far too easy for them. We showed them too much respect," Taylor said.

"We should have been right in their faces and put a few tackles in during the first five or 10 minutes like we did against Chelsea.

"We need to put pressure on the opposition. We need to test them out.

"If you give them that much respect, anyone can look good and we made them look good."

A repeat performance against Everton, could prove costly, according to Taylor.

The Toffees suffered a shock home defeat to Stoke on Boxing Day, but the Toon centre-back is wary of the talented players Roberto Martinez has at his disposal - chief among them Lukaku.

"He is an absolute beast - a top player," Taylor said of the big Belgian.

"And they have players like (Ross) Barkley, another top player.

"They have good players left, right and centre that will hurt you if you give them time on the ball, so it's up to us to stand up and put our head in the way."

Midfielder Cheick Tiote returns from suspension for the clash.

Goalkeepers Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliot (thigh) are out and there are doubts over midfielders Mehdi Abeid (toe) and Siem de Jong (thigh), who missed the 3-1 Boxing Day defeat to Manchester United.

Rolando Aarons (hamstring), Gabriel Obertan (thigh) and Ryan Taylor (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels the way his side now react to suffering their first back-to-back Barclays Premier League losses this season will be vital to how their campaign pans out overall.

After being beaten 3-0 at Southampton last Saturday and then 1-0 at home by Stoke on Boxing Day, the Toffees - who came fifth last term and had been targeting the Champions League places this time around - are 12th in the table, 11 points off the top four.

They have only won one of their last six league games, with four of those ending in defeat, and struggled to create much going forward in what was a physical encounter with the Potters.

And ahead of the trip to St James' Park, the Spaniard said: "I don't think in general we are lacking confidence, but I think this is a moment of the season that is pivotal for us - seeing how we can react.

"The reaction now has to be that we make sure we know what we are doing.

"We have a real understanding of how to perform and if we can keep that, the results will come.

"But football gives you these sorts of challenges, and this is the challenge of the season.

"We need to make sure we get through this period stronger than ever, and that could really give us a very strong second half of the season."

Goalkeeper Tim Howard and skipper Phil Jagielka were forced off at half-time due to calf and ankle problems respectively and look likely to miss the Newcastle game.

Additionally, Jagielka's fellow centre-back John Stones and winger Kevin Mirallas are doubtful due to knocks they picked up in the Boxing Day match.

The fixture also saw forward Steven Naismith receive a fifth Premier League booking of the season, meaning he will be suspended for Sunday's encounter.

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