A game full of commitment from both sides but Chris Hughton watched his players eventually blown away by two goals in the final 10 minutes.
To get so close to going four points clear and what would have been a nine point gap to third, was obviously a difficult thing to take.
The former United boss saying that ‘Up until the equaliser, I thought we’d worked out the way that they play and coped with it very well’.
Chris Hughton says that it was ‘a really fortuitous goal’ that got Newcastle level, which is fair enough, if you really don’t think Mohamed Diame meant it…
However, if we are talking about luck during the game, then being gifted the opening goal by referee Madley definitely means the luck factor was no more than level for Newcastle United.
Credit to Chris Hughton though as when it came down to taking the three points he declared ‘I have to say it’s a quality goal that gets them the winner’.
Matt Ritchie’s laser precision 60 yard ball controlled with one touch by Christian Atsu and his precision ball into Ayoze Perez was topped off with a quality finish by the man from Tenerife.
The luck evened itself out but quality won the day, a perfect end to a thrilling match.
“We know the quality that they have got and I think that showed with their second goal.
“Up until the equaliser, I thought we’d worked out the way that they play and coped with it very well.
“They threatened because of the quality that they’ve got but I generally felt that we would hold out.
“It’s a really fortuitous goal that gets them back into the game and at that stage they are in the ascendency – but I have to say it’s a quality goal that gets them the winner.
“It’s difficult to take because I felt we were very much in the game, although not at our best today. I still don’t think we deserved to lose.
“He (Ciaran Clark) certainly got his arms around Glenn Murray and the referee’s in a very good position. That got us off to a good start, but we weren’t able to maintain it.
“We started very well and had good opportunities. Anthony Knockaert threatened and went very close on another one but you can’t keep those levels going for 90 minutes against their quality.
“When you see the quality of the changes that they’re making and the quality they’ve got on the pitch, it’s then about securing what you’ve got.
“It was that one piece of real quality that undone us in the end, which makes it feel like a hard night.”