Newcastle boss Steve Bruce put extra emphasis on the importance of a pair of forwards after an improved performance still resulted in defeat against Leeds Utd.
Newcastle continued their dismal run after falling to a 2-1 defeat at St. James’ Park.
An end-to-end second-half did see a host of Magpies chances created, though none were taken after Miguel Almiron’s equaliser was cancelled out by Jack Harrison.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Bruce said: “That’s the best we’ve played in weeks. It was good to see the forward players on the pitch to make that possible for us, what a difference if we keep Ryan Fraser right – and Miguel Almiron – then we know we are going to be that threat.
“I don’t think I’ve started them yet all season. I was more pleased with the performance but obviously disappointed that we didn’t take something from the game.
“Together you need a performance – and we’ve been short, there is no disputing that – but we’ve had awful injury problems, illness – and I don’t like making excuses – I don’t think since the start of the season I’ve played what I think is my strongest team but if we keep performances like that will be OK.
“We had 20-odd shots, we hit the bar and we were unfortunate we didn’t score more but we have to go back again tomorrow and get ready for the weekend.
“[Marcelo Bielsa], in broken English, was complimentary, about my team. He thought we deserved more – but of course I would agree with him.”
“Any club, if you take out your best players going forward, they make such a huge difference.
“Fraser has been the one, along with Almiron, who lift the place up with their ability and to be more of a goal threat, we need Ryan Fraser to stay fit.
“If he stays well and Almiron stays well, then hopefully that will create enough to hopefully get us where we want to be.
“This league is demanding and cruel at times. I don’t know if I’ve been on a worse run in 20 years but tonight, I’ve seen a little bit of something and we will start again tomorrow.”
We were the better team – Lascelles
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles also spoke to the press, saying (via the BBC): “It’s a real disappointment in terms of the result. I thought we were the better team and I don’t think anyone could question our work ethic.
“We had a lot of chances and it’s positive to see. We haven’t been playing well recently but it was a much better performance.
“We’re obviously going through a difficult spell at the minute. In terms of the last seven or eight games, performances have not been not good. I can honestly say today was a step in the right direction.”