Rafael Benitez was disappointed Georginio Wijnaldum missed a great chance to beat Manchester City but was happy to take a point.
The Magpies, who had not beaten Manchester City in the league in 18 attempts dating back to September 2005, came desperately close to doing so on a night when Sergio Aguero’s 100th Premier League goal, gave the visitors a 15th-minute lead.
Vurnon Anita’s first strike in more than two years levelled it and substitute Wijnaldum was denied a stoppage time winner by City keeper Joe Hart.
Asked if he was pleased, Benitez said: “Yes, pleased – very pleased if Gini had scored the goal. But really pleased because the reaction of the players, the way that we were fighting, the passion, the commitment, the relationship with the fans, everything was so positive today that it was just a pity that we couldn’t score the second goal.
“It could be better, but it could be worse because you are playing against a team that is in form, it’s in the semi-finals of the Champions League and at the top of the Premier League.
“Before the game, I wanted the three points; after conceding the goal, to see the reaction of the team, one point could be fine; after Gini’s chance, I was a little bit upset, but you have to be pleased in the end.”