STEVE Clarke felt there was little difference between the two sides as his men were undone by Moussa Sissoko’s second-half wonder strike in tonight’s 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.
Yoan Gouffran punished Albion from a set-play with a scrappy goal nine minutes before the break.
The 12th-placed Baggies showed their fighting spirit to equalise eight minutes into the second half through Chris Brunt’s first goal of the campaign.
But the game only remained level for four minutes before Sissoko thundered home a 25-yard stunner.
“I think anyone who is fair-minded about the game would say we should have got something from it,” said Clarke.
“But we didn’t so we have to get ourselves prepared for Manchester City on Wednesday night and start getting some points on the board.
“I’ve got a good team, a good group of players, who are always committed and give 100 per cent.
“It was a strange first half; I thought it was a bit subdued.
“Both teams cancelled each other out – two teams on a similar level I think, although you wouldn’t looking at the league table because Newcastle are much higher.
“They are on a great run and have put the points on the board that maybe our performances have merited.
“But in this league you have to make sure you get the points and not performances.”
He added: “Their first goal came from nowhere.
“We defend set-plays very well as a rule so it was disappointing to go behind in that manner.
“But the reaction to going behind was good.
“We started the second half really positively and got back into the game.
“The real shame is it didn’t stay 1-1 for a little longer.
“We were the team with the good momentum at that stage.
“It was a great strike from Sissoko – you have to give him credit for that.
“It set us on the back foot a little bit but we responded to that and we came again, and risked a lot at the end to try and get the equaliser.”
The Baggies have now conceded twice in each of their last three games.
And Clarke admits it is a problem they need to address quickly.
“To concede two goals every game means you have to score two to get a point and three to win,” he said.
“It’s difficult to score that amount of goals and it’s something we have to address.”