Graham Potter said his side’s poor start to the game proved costly as they suffered a frustrating 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park.
Albion were left with a mountain to climb having conceded two early goals inside two minutes, against a Newcastle side that were already buoyed having won five of their last six league games.
“To find ourselves 2-0 down, at the speed that we did, was a bit of a body blow,” said the head coach. “We suffered from a bad goal and then a set play, and it came from nowhere really given we started the game the better team.
“We kept going but it’s hard when you’re 2-0 down all of a sudden. Over the course of the game I thought we were the better team, but the better team really is the one who scores the most goals, and that was Newcastle today.”
Albion had their chances and looked a particular threat in the second half, following Lewis Dunk’s towering header. Indeed, the hosts were desperately clinging on to the points in the closing stages and Potter felt there were positives to take from the performance.
“We stepped up a gear in the second half, even though I didn’t think we were poor in the first half, it was just the scoreline went against us,” he added. “We had some good chances, good opportunities, and there was plenty to be pleased with.
“You could see the spirit of the team was there, the players keep going until the end and we just ran out of time. We need to learn from the pain of the defeat, we need to try and get better, but there were lots of things that were positive.
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“It was a step forward in terms of our performance level but obviously we’re disappointed with the result.”
Albion have now suffered four straight defeats but Potter knows what is needed to turn the results around. “Hard work, that’s what it is. Although my name is Potter, there’s no magic wand. You just have to work hard.
“The players’ effort was there, they gave everything and were disappointed because we were nearly there in the first half, but that’s not enough at this level.
“You’ve got to be honest always, which is what we always try to be. In terms of our performance there are always positives there but there are also things you can do better. That’s how we’ve always acted with the guys and apart from Burnley recently, the performances haven’t been too far away.”