The Wearside club completed a run of three consecutive Tyne-Wear league victories for the first time in more than 90 years with a 3-0 win that left the home fans chanting 'You're getting sacked in the morning!' at Pardew. Newcastle are comfortably in mid-table, and even harbour hopes of securing a UEFA Europa League place at the end of the season.
However, that aim looks increasingly unlikely given a debilitating run of four straight home defeats that has derailed their season. Fans unhappy at the £19m sale of Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain, coupled with the lack of incoming signings, left Pardew in little doubt as to their displeasure after a chastening afternoon at St James' Park on Saturday.
There were three separate pitch incursions by disgruntled supporters as tempers flared, with owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear, both of whom were absent, coming in for most of the vitriol. Pardew signed a lucrative long-term contract two years ago, tying him to the club until 2020, and he said: "I can understand the frustration of the fans. It's the third straight defeat in the derby and the second at home."
"You have to accept the criticism that comes our way. We lose Cabaye, and we have no permanent transfers come in, so it's been a tough week. We've had a few blows. When you lose a player of Cabaye's class you want a replacement, but he didn't arrive and I have to accept what I've got and get the best out of them going forward. It's a defeat that scars the season. In terms of the league position, we're OK, but this is a blow and it's hard to take."
Having seen a late move for Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier fail to come off during the January transfer window, Pardew will try to regroup this week ahead of Newcastle's next game, a tough trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. "We need to make sure we get a reaction in our next game," he said.
"People talk about turning things round. We've lost a game and we've got 37 points. It's back to basics on the training ground this week to make sure everyone knows their role. We didn't show the professionalism needed after going behind."
Newcastle had no answer to a Sunderland side who are on the up after securing a sixth win in eight games, which saw them climb two points clear of the relegation zone. The League Cup finalists won at a canter, with Jack Colback's late strike adding to two goals in the space of four minutes mid-way through the first half from Fabio Borini and the in-form Adam Johnson.
Manager Gus Poyet says that there is still much to be done to reach the 40-point safety mark, but he admitted that the result was among his best in football. "It's one of the best days I've had in the game," Poyet said. "We're up to mid-table now and we need to keep going. We need to get safe and if we don't stay up it would be a shame. It's in our hands now and we need to take it.
"We have to do the right things for the rest of the season. We were looking for those elusive back-to-back wins, so it's a great time to do that. The players are enjoying the way we play and they believe we can stay up. They're confident in what they're doing."