Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted that Saints’ first half performance at Newcastle was the worst 45 minutes of his time in charge and insisted the team are “still in trouble.”

Saints were forced into changes due to the absence of defensive pair Yan Valery and Jannik Vestergaard but Hasenhuttl was surprised by just how poor his team were in the opening period at St James’ Park.

They trailed 2-0 at the break and, though they fought back in the second period, the Saints boss admitted his team didn’t deserve anything form the game.

When asked if the first half was his worst at Saints, Hasenhuttl said: “Yes. I don’t know if it was because we were so bad or because the opponent was so strong and so aggressive in that moment.

“They started well against us, very aggressive, but you had the feeling after 20 minutes that we could stop them a little bit better and that was the situation with the corner with the counter attack.

“We woke them up again and they were more aggressive and after this situation they had more good ball wins with aggression and attacking in midfield and we could not keep the ball, we were too slow in the mind, not aggressive enough against he ball. That is not the game we want to play.

“It was not a coincidence we were two down in this situation and that was the reason I changed twice in the half time and the shape and second half I think everybody saw it was more the way we want to play but 2-0 down to come back here is not easy.

“We had the chance to because after the 2-1 you could feel they were a little bit nervous because we did it well.

“We were still believing in us and Maya had a big chance for an equaliser but finally I think because of the first half to be honest we didn’t deserve to get something out of the game.

“We must be clear that a little bit of playing football is not enough for us.

“If we are not aggressive and we are not working against the ball like a team then against such an opponent in this stadium here you don’t have a chance to get anything.”

It was a concern that only a couple of injuries shook things up so much and Hasenhuttl confessed he sees a big summer ahead in the transfer market.

But his first priority is the remainder of this campaign and ensuring Premier League safety – starting at Watford on Tuesday.

“We know that we need to do something in the summer,” said Hasenhuttl.

“In the moment we know that we gave five players away in the winter and we made a very good performance in the second half of the season but we are still in trouble. That is for sure.

“To be five points ahead of Cardiff is more than we could expect but the journey is still a tough one for us.

“Now is the moment to bring the heads up because I think we played very good games in the last weeks and deserved to get points.

“Today we were in the crucial moments not lucky but maybe because we were not investing enough and that’s what we have to do on Tuesday – invest a little bit more and then maybe the luck is back on our side.”