Rafael Benitez told his Newcastle United players they did a “great job” despite squandering a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at Manchester United on Saturday.
The Magpies appeared on course for their first win of the season when they established a commanding advantage inside 10 minutes at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto.
But, having missed numerous chances to kill the game off, Newcastle wilted and Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and, in the final minute, Alexis Sanchez all scored to ease the pressure on Jose Mourinho.
Benitez told BT Sport: “It was a great game. We did really well first half, even second half we had two or three situations on the counter-attack when we could have scored a third goal.
“When you play against a very good team, it’s not easy because [with] every substitution they were better and better.
“It’s a pity to concede the way that we conceded, close to the end. I said to the players that they did a great job. We have to manage situations a bit better if we can, but they were pushing and pushing and they have so many good players.
“When you have top-class players, this can happen. They scored a great goal and then they put [Marouane] Fellaini and Alexis on. So many good players on the bench. They made the difference.
“The team is working so hard, they know what they have to do, but it’s a pity. When you’re 2-0 up, the chances that we had to score a third goal could make the difference.”
The defeat leaves Newcastle second bottom of the Premier League, having taken just two points from their opening eight games, the club’s worst start to a top-flight season.