Barton said: “That’s the difference between Sunderland and Newcastle at this moment in time. Sam's gone in and made defending his priority, getting clean sheets and staying in games.
"You looked at Newcastle against Chelsea, and it would be unfair on defending to call that defending. They’ve bought Shelvey - who’s a decent player - and Townsend - who’s a decent player - but they need defenders.”
Steve McClaren has never been known as a great defensive coach, and his limitations are costing the Magpies every time they take to the field.
Newcastle spent heavily in January to improve their chances of staying in the Premier League, but they failed to improve the areas of their squad that needed work, and the lack of defensive solidity that Sunderland have will likely see the Magpies relegated at the end of this season.