Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez reiterated claims that his squad must be strengthened in the January Transfer window.
Sterling’s 31st-minute strike was all the leaders had to show for a dominant display in front of a crowd of 52,311 at St James’ Park as the Magpies’ ultra-conservative approach frustrated them despite their wealth of possession.
But ultimately it was enough on a night when Rafael Benitez’s men slipped to a fifth successive home defeat for the first time since 1953, and it might have been worse had referee Andre Marriner taken a dimmer view of Jacob Murphy’s fist-half challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.
“We had some chances at the end, and we expected to have to defend and play counter attack. We needed to stay compact and defend well to play like that.
“In the last 20 minutes we did what was expected, being on top of them and expecting to press high. I am really pleased with the team in terms of organisation, but we discussed we could be better on ball in first half.
“We have to bring someone in to help the team but still have a lot of confidence in the team.”