ALAN Pardew made the tenuous claim that Swansea City's "experience" had been key after Newcastle United were humbled at St James' Park this weekend.
Michael Laudrup fielded a team which included teenager Ben Davies, untried goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel and full debutant Itay Shechter.
Six members of Swansea's starting XI were playing on Tyneside for the first time, while not one member of the visiting line-up could be described as a seasoned Premier League player.
Yet Pardew reckoned a lack of top-flight nous was central to Newcastle's second successive home defeat.
The Toon were without Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez through injury, while Fabricio Coloccini was suspended and Papiss Cisse missed out because of a row over his failure to turn up for international duty with Senegal last week.
That meant youngsters like Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson started for United, but there were still plenty of older heads in the home line-up.
"We were missing a lot of senior players," Pardew moaned. "There was a lot of inexperience on the pitch.
"I can't fault the application of the players. They did their best against a good Swansea side who had a lot more experience than we did.
"When you are having a difficult period like we are having, you need your senior players around, and we haven't got that."
Pardew reckoned Newcastle did a decent job of stifling Swansea, even though Laudrup's men scored twice and might have managed even more.
Michu broke the deadlock with his eighth of the season just before the hour, and the points were all but sealed three minutes from when Jonathan de Guzman rifled home from an awkward angle.
Demba Ba's stoppage-time header gave Newcastle hope, but Swansea held on for a rousing success.
"Up until they scored I thought we did a pretty good job," added Pardew, whose team were booed off by sections of the home crowd at the end.
"The work-rate of the team was fantastic, but probably the most disappointing thing was the way we reacted after going behind.
"We chased the game a little bit and then conceded a second.
"We did a lot of things right in the game — we didn't let Swansea play and we pressed them everywhere we could — but in the last third we were a little disappointing."
Newcastle are furious over the Cisse situation, after Senegal blocked him from facing Swansea because he did not join up with their squad last week.
"In a managerial career at any club you are going to have some things that are going to go against you, and we have had a week where a lot of things have conspired against us," Pardew said.
"But our performance was better than against West Ham (nine days ago) and we were unlucky not to score before Swansea did.
"If we'd done that, we would have been in good shape to win the game."