Ralph Hasenhüttl cited missed chances as a key factor in Southampton’s 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Newcastle.
The visitors had the lead courtesy of Miguel Almirón, before Mohamed Elyounoussi and Ché Adams squandered good opportunities either side of the break.
Making the hosts pay, Chris Wood and Joe Willock extended the visitors’ advantage, with Romain Perraud’s reply condemned to nothing more than a consolation by Bruno Guimarães’s late strike.
Reflecting on a difficult afternoon, Hasenhüttl said: “Four-one down and Newcastle showed why they are where they are, and we showed why we are where we are.
“This is the difference,” he continued. “If you hit the corner or if you hit the side of the goal, we have again chances to score, but we have also given them only four shots on target and they scored four times. If you want to have the answer to what was the difference, you see this.
“Goals you score always make a difference in the result and when you score it’s not really enough and the game is gone. We are under the line and we are, in the moment, in a very difficult situation.
When asked about the importance of finding some momentum in the remaining two games before the winter break, the Saints boss added: "Very,very important, I think. Because it’s not a good view at the moment when you look at the table."