ON a night when it felt as though Newcastle United had regained their tag as ‘the Entertainers’, Steve Bruce admitted his side’s inability to hold on to a lead against Manchester City had left him feeling frustrated.

The Magpies led on two separate occasions against the newly-crowned Premier League champions, but ultimately crashed to a 4-3 defeat that leaves them in 16th position in the table.

Ferran Torres scored a brilliant hat-trick as Manchester City claimed a 12th away win in a row, but while the visitors’ excellence ultimately shone through, Newcastle were left wondering about what might have been.

“We’re delighted to score three times against them, it doesn’t happen for any team very often,” said Bruce, who was presented with the Manager of the Month award for April earlier in the day. “But the one thing we needed to do was defend better.

“We’ve taken the lead a couple of times, and needed to defend better. They’re such a good side, it’s remarkable how good they are, so it was disappointing we didn’t take anything from it.

“We have to stop conceding the way we did, but I’ve always said that we’re a threat. We’re a threat on the counter-attack, but it’s getting that balance right that is the key to it.

“We have people who can spring forward, and some of our counter-attacking play was very good. But we had to defend better to enable us to get something against Man City.”

After goals from Joao Cancelo and Torres followed Emil Krafth’s header, Joelinton made it 2-2 to Newcastle from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

The Magpies were awarded a second spot-kick at the start of the second half, but after what appeared to be a brief row, Joe Willock replaced Joelinton as the penalty taker.

Willock’s spot-kick was saved, although he followed up to convert the rebound before Torres' two goals in the space of three minutes enabled Manchester City to claim all three points.

“It didn’t annoy me,” said Bruce. “I used to take penalties myself, and I’m a big believer that there are times where you are not that confident.

"If you’re not that confident, give it to someone else.

“Now, whether Jo felt that way or maybe Joe Willock wanted it that badly to make it five (goals) on the spin? If you’re confident, I’m always open to it.”