Steve Bruce claimed Newcastle played better in their loss to Tottenham than they have “in a long time”.
Harry Kane took centre-stage for the visitors, scoring his 200th goal at club level and adding another to give Spurs a 3-1 win.
Newcastle had been in the game though, temporarily drawing level when Matt Ritchie cancelled out Son Heung-Min’s opener.
Magpies boss Bruce admits his side were naive after that equaliser, but believes they were playing some of their best football as they look to end the season strongly.
“It’s the best we’ve played in a long time,” said Bruce. “They were excellent. Realistically we were safe months ago so the challenge has been can we finish as best as we can?
“Their attitude and application was excellent today and you don’t always get what you deserve.
“We were naive after we equalised and we gave Harry Kane too much room. You know it’s a goal and that’s the difference, that quality at the top of the pitch.”
Already dealing with limited resources, Bruce then revealed that two key players who started the match have suffered injuries. However, he is more focused on making sure they are raring to go for next season, rather than for the last two games of the current campaign.
He confirmed: “Fabian Schar looks like he has dislocated his shoulder and Allan Saint-Maximin has a calf [injury] – we’ll have to see on him but we are down to the bare bones. We were already missing seven.
“It’s about getting a few back for the start of next season now.”