Newcastle boss Eddie Howe refused to be too downbeat after watching his side mauled by Manchester City and feels his players will learn from the experience.
The Magpies arrived at the Etihad having lost 1-0 to Liverpool last time out. And they left having conceded five in a match that resembled men against boys at times. Raheem Sterling opened and closed the scoring, with his first on 19 minutes and second three minutes into stoppage time.
Aymeric Laporte made it 2-0 at the break while Rodri and Phil Foden also bagged after the interval. The Citizens dominated the match from start to finish, with the Tynesiders struggling to get a kick at times.
And Howe pulled no punches in his assessment of the result.
“The second and third goals, the two set-plays were disappointing from our perspective. Two corners, we’re kicking ourselves,” he told Sky Sports. “We had a good spell after the two subs. We had good chances to score.
“I’m disappointed with the last few minutes, it puts a different view on the game. We had some good passages of play. We tried to be positive. You can’t make individual mistakes here. If you do that you’ll concede – and we did.
“Those small details matter and they punished us. We could have defended both corners better.”
Howe hopes his men improve after facing top two
Playing the nation’s best two teams one after the other was always going to be a tough ask for the north-east outfit. Newcastle have improved dramatically since the turn of the year and relegation is no longer an issue.
The Saudi-backed takeover means they will be able to compete for top players in the summer window. And Howe hopes that those who wear black and white in the future will be better from having faced the title chasers.
“There’s no better learning curve than playing Liverpool and Manchester City,” he added. “They’ve taught us a lot about potential areas we need to improve.
“We can’t be too negative about today. We should view it as a way to come back next season stronger.
Future bright at St James’ Park
Howe recruited well in January, bringing in players that made a real difference. He is expected to be given significant funds in the off-season to bolster his squad even further.
He hopes to bring in a few new faces and appears confident about the way the club is progressing.
“If we can be smart with what we do in the summer and keep the spirit we have in the squad, the future is very bright for the club,” he continued. “The aim when we came in was to stay in the Premier League at all costs.
“I don’t think we’re looking at that [being title contenders] at this stage. We’re looking for progression.”