Alan Pardew watched his team finish the league season and a 15th place in the top flight after completion of 38 games. The manager felt the extent of the defeat was harsh on his side and wasn't helped by some decisions made by the referee, Michael Oliver.
"I was a bit disappointed with the referee's decisions. The Pelle goal was a definite push and he actually looks round at the ref as if to say 'Did you see it?' And he should have seen it, but he didn't.
"The penalty decision again, which is outside the box, and the linesman overruled him. His gut feeling is it was outside, he stood on the edge of the box for a little while, and the linesman gave that, and he got it wrong.
"We had a lot of chances today from an away side, we did ok but they are in good form and were strong and deserved the result.
"The game was really balanced at 2-1, it was open and a really good game. I'm not making any suggestion we deserved to win, but it certainly could have been tighter and closer, and we could have eked a draw out if we had taken our chances."
With the squad now turning their attention to the FA Cup Final next Saturday there are some injury concerns for the manager before he can decide on his starting eleven.
"Of course we protected some today but we do have some concerns about a couple. We rested Scott Dann, but the biggest concern is Yohan Cabaye although I think he will be ok and Connor Wickham has rolled his ankle but Zaha and Bolasie should be fine. My experience though is as the final gets nearer the injuries certainly start to clear up."
He spoke post match about the way his players should enjoy what is going to be a busy week for the lads as the showpiece final gets ever nearer.
"The lads should enjoy this week because times like this don't come around too much in your career but then on the day we are not just going to enjoy the occasion, we are going to win."