Alan Pardew was pleased with the impact of Hatem Ben Arfa on his return to the Newcastle side against Fulham on Monday night - despite the player's lack of match fitness.
Ben Arfa had been out of action for almost three weeks after being forced off in the first half of the Europa League draw with Maritimo. He marked his comeback with what proved to be the Magpies' consolation in a 2-1 defeat at Craven Cottage.
The French midfielder lasted 70 minutes on his return before being replaced by Shola Ameobi. Despite getting on the scoresheet, Pardew believes the player is still some way off being fully fit.
"He was short of match fitness, and I thought he struggled in the early part of the game to pick up the pace," Pardew said. "However, he had some great moments. He was tiring and I had to remove him.
"It was a terrific goal and that is what he can create. I was pleased with our attacking performance."
Despite seeing the positives in the performance, Pardew was disappointed to lose the game in the manner that they did.
"I thought we did create great chances and on another night we could have scored two or three goals, but it was not to be," Pardew added. "I was disappointed for the players – I thought they gave everything. It was just two mistakes - like at Stoke - which cost us.
"We keep putting in performances but not getting what we want, really. It is difficult, but you cannot concede soft goals at this level. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves. We have to work on that."