Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez believes his side’s 1-0 loss to Fulham on the opening night of the EFL season will be a “wake-up call” for his players.
The Magpies were beaten by Matt Smith’s first-half header in a lacklustre Championship season opener following summer spending of almost £45 million.
Benitez knows Newcastle cannot afford many similar performances if they are to immediately return to the Premier League.
“I’m really disappointed because we did not play at the level we expected,” he said. “We did not win the ball too much in the second ball and were not keeping the ball properly. We were not concentrating. This game could be a wake-up call for everyone.
“The only positive is it is the beginning of the season and we can wake up. At least everyone has to realise it has to be like this for the rest of the season.
“We didn’t play at the level we want to play and have to play if you want to score goals and win games. You have to be much better. We have to realise this is a tough competition and we have to be much better.”
Newcastle had two penalty appeals waved away for handballs by Ryan Tunnicliffe and Tomas Kalas but Benitez refused to criticise referee Simon Hooper.
“The first one was clear and not given,” he said. “The second one depends on the referee.”