This was the worst week Newcastle have experienced in 2018, losing back-to-back Premier League games for the first time this calendar year.

United were hoping to bounce back from the defeat to Everton on Monday by beating West Brom at St James’ Park, but delivered a listless performance that suggested the players were already on their holidays after securing their top-flight safety.

Instead it was the Baggies, bottom of the table but belatedly revived by caretaker boss Darren Moore, who were celebrating on Tyneside after Matt Phillips pounced on a defensive error to score the only goal and earn an eighth point from four matches under their temporary leader.

But for Rafa Benitez, visibly irked by the performance in his post-match interviews, it will be the job of lifting his deflated squad back up and provoke a positive response when they visit Watford next week to avoid letting what promised to be an encouraging end to the season drift to a lacklustre conclusion.