It went from bad to worse as Newcastle burst out of the traps to take a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes through Kieron Dyer and Obafemi Martins.
But we hit back, scored when Murphy’s volley deflected home off Steven Taylor and were on top when Scott Parker scored what proved to be a telling third goal after 34 minutes.
Berbatov slid an early chance just wide at the start of the second half but clear-cut chances were at a premium after that and the scoreline stayed the same.
“We were 2-0 down in seven minutes and that’s exactly what you don’t want,” reflected Martin at St James’ Park. “We should have scored to make it 1-0 but 20 seconds later and the ball was in our net. That was typical for the afternoon.
“All credit to Newcastle, they played in a very aggressive manner, were clinical, but I don’t feel they played much better than us.
“They showed us respect and we could have taken advantage of that and even though they scored the two early goals and then the third, we could have got a better result.
“We had four or five moments when we could have scored and I feel we were not clinical enough.
“Our play was a bit more accurate and our possession game was good, but we couldn’t finish it off and that’s what they did.
“We are not far off though and I feel we are still in a good position.”
Martin Jol pinpointed Newcastle's clinical finishing as the difference between sides after we went down 3-1 at St James' Park on Saturday.We started off on the wrong foot before kick-off when striker Jermain Defoe suffered a knee injury in the warm-up, forcing a late change of tactics. In came Danny Murphy, Steed Malbranque pushed further forward to support Dimitar Berbatov and Jamie O’Hara took his place on the bench.