Eddie Howe has admitted his Newcastle side were “not where they needed to be” following their 2-0 defeat to an electric Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Howe’s side hoped to make amends for the home loss to Dortmund just two weeks ago, but an injury plagued Newcastle side failed to take their chances.
Niclas Fullkrug opened the scoring for BVB in the 26th minute before Julian Brandt doubled the hosts lead in the 79th minute to ensure the Magpies would leave the Signal Iduna Park empty handed.
Joelinton came close to leveling the scores just before the hour mark, but his effort was headed wide from close range.
The result moved Dortmund to the top of the competitive group on seven points, with other results on the night meaning Newcastle sunk to the last of four, facing an early exit from European competition.
Speaking after the game, Howe said: “(It was) not our best performance today, right from the start we were not quite where we needed to be, we were in the game and Joelinton’s moment was where we could have gotten back in (to the game) but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Newcastle are at the back end of a congested fixture list that has seen the team play five games in just two weeks.
Talking about the schedule having an impact on performance, Howe said: “It certainly didn’t feel like that in our preparation, but we probably didn’t have the energy we had on Saturday (against Arsenal), a little bit flat in our performance but it wasn’t for the want of trying, the players did what they could but it wasn’t quite there”.
The Magpies may have to look to the youth teams for more options, after Callum Wilson came off at half-time with a hamstring issue to add to the torrid time Toon have had with injuries and suspension in the early stages of this season, with only 12 senior outfield players available to Howe on Tuesday.
Talking about Wilson, Howe said: “There was some tightness in his hamstring, so we didn’t want to take any chances”
Despite the result, 20-year-old Tino Livramento was a stand out player for Newcastle, starting the game on the right wing before moving to right back, then left back in what was an impressive performance for the versatile Englishman. 19-year-old Lewis Hall and 17-year-old Lewis Miley also made appearances for the Magpies.
“I thought (Livramento) played well on both sides of the pitch,” said Howe. “I thought Lewis Hall played well but it was his booking that made me make the change, Lewis Miley came on and it was a valuable experience for him but that is not what we want to be doing, we want to be winning games not handing out experiences to the younger players.
“We have to accept our defeat.”