Steve Bruce told Sky Sports: "The first half in particular we did not do enough with or without the ball. We felt we were harshly done by with two free-kicks, but the way Conor Hourihane has executed them made it a difficult night.
"Conor is very good, I have seen it many times and he has the accuracy and power to score. The second one, our defenders have to defend better, too many stood and watched it.
"The game was gone in two minutes although we had chances before and after half-time when Tom Heaton made some good saves.
"Jamaal Lascelles [out with a knee injury] is our captain and has been playing very well. Last week the defenders were excellent but you are always going to miss your best players."
Newcastle entertain reigning champions Manchester City on Saturday, before an away match at Sheffield United on Thursday, 5 December.