Benitez, however, defended his team's negative display, telling Sky Sports: I think we knew it was a difficult game, and we needed to work really hard to get something. It was a pity we conceded and I thought we could have done better."
He went on to add: "We have seen a lot of games where teams were pressing high and still City scored four goals, so it was a question of staying in the game until the end." Benitez also said: "You were expecting that they would have the ball and we would have to counter-attack, and we did it well for a while."
The Spaniard did clearly feel his team's approach worked well in the first half, only criticising their inability to keep the ball for long periods. He said: "I am really pleased with the team in terms of organisation and work-rate, but disappointed because we could have been better on the ball in the first half."
The defeat leaves Newcastle 15th in the table ahead of the weekend's vital home game with Brighton.