Saturday night was not an easy one for Newcastle United.

While losing away at Manchester City is hardly anything to be too dramatic about, it did serve to remind us all just how far Eddie Howe’s team have got to go.

Only one shot on target at the Etihad Stadium is a fairly bleak statistic, particularly after City had played in a baking hot Athens on Wednesday night. If there was ever a chance to end Newcastle’s miserable record at City, that felt like the opportunity.

Manchester City v Newcastle United - Premier League
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Still, it wasn’t to be.

Though Howe has spoken positively about the second-half performance, there was one moment in particular that seemingly left him fuming.

What Joelinton did to anger Eddie Howe last night

Few would ever doubt Joelinton’s importance to the cause at Newcastle but Saturday night was not his best in a black and white shirt.

Indeed, one incident was picked up by talkSPORT commentator Sam Matterface while he was watching the game.

In the first-half, City captain Kyle Walker played in Manuel Akanji to cross the ball, albeit no one got on the end of it.

Howe, however, was said to be fuming with Joelinton for not closing Akanji down.

“Eddie Howe is going absolutely barmy at Joelinton for not getting out and closing that attempt down,” he said.

Manchester City v Newcastle United - Premier League
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

A reminder that Newcastle are not yet perfect

To criticise Joelinton alone for Newcastle losing to City would of course be too much.

Still, those are the standards Howe needs to set if the club have any hope of catching City going forward.

Constant improvement has been a theme of Howe’s time as Newcastle manager and that would not be possible without consistently setting higher standards.

It sounds harsh and perspective must be applied but its so necessary.

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