The French winger struck two wonder goals after 35 and 54 minutes to put Newcastle in control of what had been an even game. A quickfire double from Alan Shearer soon put the issue beyond doubt.
"It's amazing how games turn and Robert turned the game, no question about it," said acting boss David. "Whatever we did or didn't do defensively, he turned the game and put Newcastle in a position to win it.
"Up until that time it was a muted St James' Park.
"At half-time, you could say that, in a strange way, our passing dictated the tempo of the first half.
"Robert's wonderful goal put us slightly on the back foot, we were dealing with a couple of injuries at half-time, but in truth, Newcastle raised the tempo dramatically and we couldn't stay with the game.
"When you raise the tempo dramatically like that and score in that spell when you're playing so well, I'm afraid that's curtains. The rest of the game becomes almost null and void.
"We've been well smacked, we've got to put our hands up to two great Robert goals and I've also got to question some of our defending.
"But fortunately in football, there's another game not too far away."
That game arrives on Wednesday - the Carling Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough at the Lane.
Like most present at St James' Park, David Pleat couldn't look beyond Laurent Robert's stunning contribution as the key to the points on Saturday.