Lee Johnson wasn’t happy with the defeat but he felt uplifted because he felt his Bristol City side had shown they weren’t a ‘million miles away’ from a ‘top side’ like Newcastle.
The match was decided by a goal which featured new signings Dwight Gayle and Mohamed Diame, the former Hull midfielder producing a ‘great ball’ and Gayle a ‘clinical finish from a top striker’ according to the Bristol City manager.
Lee Johnson was happy with the contribution of his player right up to the last third of the pitch, where he wasn’t quite sure their failure was down to ‘good defending or our lack of quality’ – the reality probably being a mixture of the two.
The Robins’ boss thought his side dominated the middle of the pitch and the returning Jack Colback was poor, whilst Isaac Hayden was average at best.
Bristol City bettered Newcastle with all the statistics (see below) including more shots, more strikes on target, more possession and more corners, that is all but the most important – more goals.
However, whilst Newcastle put up a great defensive performance, you have to feel that to pick up enough points for promotion this season getting more than one shot on target in 90 minutes is essential.
“It was a great ball and a clinical finish from a top striker – not great defending from us, but I was pleased with us overall.
“I was pleased with the middle third, we dominated the middle third and played out well.
“Gary O’Neil and Bobby Reid were fantastic, Lee Tomlin was back to life without having that killer ball that he normally has, and up until the box I thought we were excellent.
“When it came to the box, whether it was their good defending or our lack of quality on the day, that was the bit that was frustrating.
“We probably need to do a little bit of work on making sure that once we hit that final third, we’re actually dynamic enough to get the ball in the box.
“Strikers need balls in the box and things can happen from balls in the box.
“We picked up the second phase well enough but what we didn’t do was put enough early balls in the box, we allowed them to get set and that’s the slight tweak that we’ve got to improve on.
“I’m not going to be too critical of my side today.
“It was a big occasion and I was desperate to provide goalscoring opportunities for the crowd – we didn’t get enough of that, but they’ve seen that we’re not a million miles away because Newcastle are a top side.”
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Bristol City 0 Newcastle 1
Newcastle: Gayle 19
Possession was Bristol City 56% Newcastle 44%
Total shots were Bristol City 17 Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Bristol City 2 Newcastle 1
Corners were Bristol City 6 Newcastle 3
Team: Sels, Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Clark, Hayden (Shelvey 85), Colback, Ritchie, Diame (Perez 63), Gouffran, Gayle (Aarons 88)
Unused Subs: Darlow, Sterry, Hanley, Dummett
Referee: Tony Harrington
Crowd: 22,512 (2,501 Newcastle)