'Harshest of lessons' - Dawson reflects on young Magpies' heavy defeat
Written by Luke Vinton
Coach Ben Dawson admitted Newcastle's under-23s side were second best in their 5-0 defeat to Manchester United at St. James' Park on Monday night.
The young Magpies trailed by three goals at half-time as Nishan Burkart's brace and Tahith Chong's strike left the young Magpies stunned before Mason Greenwood added to the scoreline with two second half goals, as Newcastle's bid for the Premier League 2 title took a negative blow.
However, it could have been a different outcome for the home side after Newcastle winger Rosaire Longelo saw his low strike kept out by former Newcastle goalkeeper Paul Woolston in the opening minute of the Division Two clash.
Dawson told nufc.co.uk: "I thought, in the first minute, we started very brightly and created a great opportunity through Rosaire when he was one-on one. After that, it was one-way traffic and probably the harshest of lessons against probably the best team that we have played this season.
"It could have been different but they are the fine margins. We had chances like that in the first-half at Stoke last week. It was very similar where you are through on goal and it changes the game.
"It was the only chance that we had in the full 90 minutes which is disappointing but I'd like to think they can use this experience to try and improve themselves, realising the level where they want to be at. They gave the lads an insight into what the Premier League is all about. Their quality and pace was all over the place and, man for man, they were better than us.
"I don't think we worked particularly well as a team to try and solve those problems and, as a consequence, when you're always getting there a second too late or two yards short, then that quality and pace will take over and that made it a really difficult night for us."
Newcastle's second-string - situated in fourth place - have secured their play-off spot but require a win against Middlesbrough, in their final league outing of the season at the Riverside Stadium, to have a chance of gaining a home draw in the semi-finals.
Their attention now turns to Tuesday's Premier League Cup semi-final against Leeds United at Guiseley's Nethermoor Park and Dawson is hopeful that his squad can rally from their recent setback.
He added: "We are hoping it is just a blip in the system. The lads have a couple of days to rest and recover and then they'll be back in training to hopefully start putting some things right.
"Every game, we are going out and trying to win. Whether we beat Middlesbrough or not, it depends on the other teams elsewhere. The only thing we can concentrate on is ourselves and focus on the performances, which is the only thing you can control. We didn't do that on the night and paid the harshest of prices.
"In the dressing room, I reminded them that it was a bit of a reality check. Lots of them were talking about going out on loan, experiencing this and that. The team we faced were better than any League One or League Two side that we have played this season and better than any club that our lads have been out on loan to."