A nine-point gap between itself and the drop zone is likely enough for Newcastle United to stay in the Premier League, but that’s not going to make any Tynesiders feel any better after a fifth-successive loss to rivals Sunderland.
Jermain Defoe’s good-looking goal just before halftime was enough for the Black Cats to get a 1-0 home win over Carver’s charges, once comfortably mid-table but winners of just two matches since Alan Pardew left for Crystal Palace early this year.
[ MORE: Advocaat praises Sunderland win ]
Once relegation fodder, Pardew’s Palace now sits ahead of Newcastle on the table and Sunderland’s derby win has boosted the Black Cats hopes of remaining in the Premier League. In fact, Sunderland’s six points vs. the Magpies last season were one more than the five they needed to survive the drop. It’ll likely be a similar figure this season.
That stings NUFC supporters… and Carver:
“I thought we were second best in every department. If we would’ve gone into halftime 0-0, I would’ve been doing somersaults because we weren’t really in there. We were second best.
“(The loss) leaves a bitter taste in your mouth… A football club, our football club shouldn’t lose five in a row to our neighbors. I remember when I was here winning five in a row. I will suffer for a few weeks, months, maybe even a few years.”
Next up: a trip to Liverpool and visits from Spurs and Swansea. It’s not at all absurd to think Newcastle will still have just 35 points come May. Then they’ll face a run-in of Leicester City, West Brom, QPR and West Ham.
While the Magpies are unlikely to finish in the relegation zone, they may be no more than a point or two above it by the time the season ends. That’ll trouble Newcastle supporters, and yet will pale in comparison to the reaction you’ll get from mentioning five straight losses to Sunderland.