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.
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“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.”