Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds have 10 days before their next Premier League fixture and that time must be used well.
No player was worthy of being named man of the match in this one. Every player slipped below his best on a day when City occasionally showed flashes of quality, but went down against an almost equally poor Newcastle team.
Bobby Decordova-Reid was probably the brightest spark in Cardiff’s team, but he was only on for 26 minutes.
He will be in Warnock’s thoughts after a highly impressive cameo appearance.
“The system suited him,” said Warnock. I have had no complaints with Bobby and the opportunities he’s had.
“I always pick what I think is my best side if I’m honest and I don’t think that will change.”
The Bluebirds boss will hope to add another couple of new signings, including Emiliano Sala from Nantes after he came through a Cardiff City medical, and then decide on his best starting 11 to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Cardiff will work on combinations in training and maybe Decordova-Reid would be a better fit alongside Oumar Niasse, their new loan signing from Everton.
The Senegal international was thrown in at the deep end after one training session, having completed his move on Friday, is far from match fit and the link with Callum Paterson, who took up the number 10 role, simply did not work.
That is scarcely surprising given the two have only just met.
Newcastle were poor and City failed to take advantage, but a three-goal defeat was harsh.
Captain Sol Bamba and Bruno Manga will develop their partnership over the next few matches and, once again, the 10-day break because of the FA Cup will help.
“It wasn’t a 3-0 game,” said Warnock. “I couldn’t see them breaking through until the first goal which was poor from our point of view.
“I felt quite comfortable in fact and then all of a sudden we concede a sloppy goal. Poor defending and the lad took advantage.
“We started the second half well, looked dangerous and then conceded the second that killed us. We didn’t have anything drop for us and they were better than us in the final third.
“Nine of the lads that played today were in the Championship last season. While we are disappointed, but it is not the end of the world. We looked a half decent side. I didn’t think in the last third we did enough.”
“We must be more clinical. There were so many opportunities to put a final ball in, a final pass or get a shot away.
“There were brilliant blocks from the Newcastle lads, but we shouldn’t have allowed them to become brilliant blocks. We should have got the shot away earlier.”
Defensive errors remain a problem, while in their last two fixtures City have scarcely managed a shot on target. Both issues must be addressed.
Cardiff have failed to score in 11 of their Premier League matches this season and that’s higher than any other team.
Swiss defender Fabian Schar scored twice for United, after 24 and 63 minutes, and Ayoz Perez completed the scoring with 90 minutes gone.
The first goal highlighted Cardiff’s frailty at the back when Schar was allowed to run from the right touchline before curling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Newcastle have won their last 10 home league games against Cardiff and Rafa Benitez said: “We did good and scored three goals. Everybody has to be happy.
“The main thing is the commitment of the players. Then it was about trying to manage the game against a tough team, a physical team.
“Fabian Schar has quality on the ball. His first was a great goal. The team were giving everything and this kind of game you know you have to work hard.
“I said before we would still have to win a lot of games to stay up.”
Cardiff slipped into the bottom there after this defeat with Newcastle jumping above them.
Victory ended a five-game winless run for the Magpies and lifted them two points clear of the Bluebirds, who only have Fulham and Huddersfield beneath them.
Newcastle United (5-4-1): Newcastle United: Dúbravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Schär, Ritchie (Manquillo, 85), Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu, Pérez, Rondón. Subs not used: Woodman, Clark, Murphy, Joselu, Sterry, Roberts.
Referee: Stuart Attwell