Eddie Howe knows Newcastle United still have work to do to catch Manchester City but believes there is no longer a “real gap” between the teams.
Newcastle were beaten 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, a 14th consecutive Premier League defeat at a stadium where they have never won in the top flight.
But Howe’s side – who drew 3-3 with City at home – had their chances, most notably through Callum Wilson and Joelinton, who both miscued in front of goal.
In the eyes of the Newcastle coach, it was a far cry from their visit last May, when City ran out 5-0 winners.
City also beat Newcastle 4-0 at St James’ Park less than a month into Howe’s tenure in December 2021.
“There are things for us to reflect on, minimal chances for them today,” Howe said after goals from Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva defeated his side.
“I thought we kept them relatively quiet. They’re a world-class team, so they’re always going to have chances, but I thought we minimised their threat.
“The general performances have been very good [in defeats to Liverpool, Manchester United and City].
“When we came here last year, the result was difficult and you could see the real gap between the teams. I don’t think that’s been there this season.
“There is still growth for us to get closer to Manchester City.”