Rafael Benitez cut a forlorn figure as he surveyed the wreckage of another truncated FA Cup campaign in the wake of the 2-0 fourth-round defeat to Watford.
The Hornets made 11 changes but still proved too strong for Benitez’s side, with Andre Gray and Isaac Success netting in the second half.
Defeat means the Magpies have not made it to the fifth round since 2006, a year before current owner Mike Ashley bought the club.
Benitez’s selection seemed in part designed to illustrate the point that his squad cannot compete on two fronts, hours after a loan move for Lazio full-back Jordan Lukaku fell through at the last minute.
Benitez said: “This was a strong team, strong enough. I think we could have won. That we didn’t do it means that maybe we need something more if we want to go through and then try to challenge for this competition.
“We did what we had to do. We tried and we couldn’t, that’s it.”
Newcastle, who sit just above the Premier League relegation zone, face Manchester City on Tuesday evening, with Benitez still desperate for the reinforcements he believes he needs to keep the club in the top flight for another season.
Asked if his disappointment was as much down to the lack off progress off the pitch as the failure on it, he said: “A little bit of everything.
“But I am a professional, so I am convinced that we will do what we have to do and, in the end, we will stay up.
“But we have to concentrate and then be sure that we do the right things.”