LONDON • West Ham manager David Moyes admitted his side were disappointing in defence and failed to live up to their normal standards as their unbeaten run came to an end with a 3-2 defeat by Newcastle on Saturday.
Moyes, whose side were unbeaten in their previous three Premier League matches, looked to have turned the team's season around following recent victories over Chelsea and Stoke.
But having taken an early lead when Marko Arnautovic scored after six minutes, the Hammers' defence could not deal with Newcastle's impressive counter-attack and conceded three sloppy goals to hand the visitors their first win in nine matches.
The defeat leaves West Ham one place above the league's bottom three and Moyes made no excuses for his side's poor display.
"We should have capitalised after the first goal and, when we got it early on, I thought it would work in our favour," he said. "We made a mistake for their goal and it should have been offside for the second.
"But we didn't perform well enough and I am disappointed.
"Defensively I thought we were poor and didn't deal with balls up to the striker."
Moyes had no doubts that Andre Ayew's spot-kick miss was a massive factor in his side's failure to come away with at least a point.
Ayew blew a major chance to help his side draw level at 2-2 when his poor 56th-minute penalty was well saved by Rob Elliot.
The Ghana international eventually got on the scoresheet, reducing the deficit in the 69th minute after Christian Atsu made it 3-1 but Newcastle held on to record their first win since Oct 21.
"It was such a big moment in the game for us. If we could have got back to 2-2, we were on the ascendancy," Moyes said. "Andre was there to take it. We have missed one at Everton (last month) and one here. We cannot be missing them. We need to be more reliable."
Victory for Newcastle moved them out of the relegation zone after they had plummeted from sixth in October to 18th.
"It's difficult when you have a bad run," said Magpies boss Rafael Benitez. "What was really important was to win, and to have a good performance against a good team.
"It is important not to be in the bottom three at any time, not just at Christmas."