Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear has backed Fabricio Coloccini to bounce back after the Argentinian's below-par performance against Liverpool.
The £10million defender was blasted by TV pundits after the Reds ran riot to win 5-1 at St James' Park on Sunday.
While Kinnear admits his usual 'Mr Reliable' was not at his best in the game, he believes excuses can be made, including that Sebastien Bassong was suspended and he had to throw reserve-team skipper David Edgar into a makeshift back four.
Kinnear told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: "He's Mr Reliable normally but he was below par against Liverpool.
"I can understand that.
"One of the reasons for that is because we didn't have two of the usual back four playing.
"I've already said this season that we need to keep a settled back four.
"Also, Colo's performance was probably to do with the quality of the team we were playing against.
"But for all that, I did not expect us as a team to lose in the manner that we did and we must improve."
The Magpies' defence will be boosted by the return of Bassong after the Frenchman served his one-match ban against Liverpool following his sending-off at Wigan.
Kinnear said: "It will be a big boost to get him back.
"We did miss him against Liverpool and he too can come back stronger."
He added: "We'll learn from this, but we do need some reinforcements."