Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has suggested that his team were always going to struggle against the Premier League's big spenders due to the gulf in finances after Mike Ashley refused to invest in the summer.
The Magpies suffered against a team consisting of players costing more than their entire starting eleven, but this could all change if the proposed takeover goes ahead with Amanda Staveley's PCP Partners before Christmas.
Speaking to the Chronicle in his post-match press conference, Benitez addressed the contrasting funds available to the two clubs.
"For sure. This time, you seen the difference between money spent. It’s not something we didn’t know, we knew it would make a massive difference between both teams. But my point is I am really pleased with what I saw in the first 30 minutes."
Newcastle went 1-0 up thanks to Dwight Gayle's first Premier League goal of the season, and despite going into half-time 2-1 down, were good value for their goal and possibly deserved better.
Deciphering the game, Benitez said: "I think it is quite a simple analysis, a really good first half for 90 minutes. Everything was right and we worked hard.
"We had a clear idea of what to do and done well. Then we conceded a goal, the second one made the difference in terms of our mentality. We did have a chance from Hayden later on but we couldn’t score.
"The second half was more difficult because the belief we had in the first half had gone. To keep that until the end depends on who scores next. When they scored the third goal it was a different game.
"I was really pleased and proud of my players in the first 30 minutes. After that when you pay the big money for players, it can make the difference. We made mistakes and you pay for them when you play against top class players."
The defeat was Newcastle's third in a row, leaving them hovering in eleventh place.