Alan Pardew believes there is little his Newcastle side could have done to avoid defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
The Magpies went into the clash depleted by injuries to key players such as Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheikh Tiote and those absences proved telling as the hosts outclassed their opponents.
However, Pardew suggested that even a full-strength Newcastle line-up may have struggled to cope with a Manchester City side determined not to end their season with a whimper.
"Even with my best players today I think we would have struggled against City," the 51-year-old told reporters.
"They were as strong as I have seen them for a while.
"I felt in the first half that City had an assurance about them that comes from no pressure, I don't think they are going to win the league after Manchester United won today and we didn't help by not putting them under pressure.
"So when you have players like they have who are under no pressure then they are going to play well. That was our biggest problem.
"We were lucky, I thought, to get to 40 minutes without conceding a goal. We were not as technically good as we have been and I just wanted to get them in at half-time at 1-0, which if we did we would have had a better second half.
"But it's always difficult at 2-0. We had a good attitude in the opening 10 minutes of the half. We put them under pressure and looked quite good. We needed to nick a goal at that stage, but couldn't manage it.
"The goals came at a great time for City. We couldn't get them in an uncomfortable position. If we could have got them in at 1-0, or had scored at 2-0 when Yohan Cabaye had a big chance, we could have made it uncomfortable. We never got the pressure to score a goal."
That defeat was Newcastle's second in a row and with their relegation rivals picking up wins within that period, the Toon Army are now only three points above the drop zone despite looking safe following their win over Stoke in early March.
"I don't think we ever thought we were out of it," Pardew added. "Until you get to 40 points you are never out of it. We haven't really looked away from that.
"There is nothing I can do about the other results. We have got to our business in the other games coming up, let's be honest. They are the ones we look forward to now."
Before resuming their battle for survival, Newcastle travel to Portugal for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final with Benfica, a match that Pardew is relishing despite his side's current form.
"Benfica are top of the Portuguese league and are going very well. They could be on a par with this City side in terms of quality, but I don't think anyone else we are going to play will be as good," he said.
"That gives us more of a chance to win games that remain."