Huddersfield manager David Wagner said his side “has to believe” after Newcastle inflicted a fourth successive Premier League defeat on the Terriers.
Against the run of play, Salomon Rondon struck the only goal on 55 minutes to send Newcastle six points clear of Wagner’s side – and the relegation places.
Huddersfield, however, dominated the contest, and both Philip Billing and Chris Lowe spurned notable opportunities on a frustrating afternoon for the hosts.
Yet, despite the unrelenting pressure, Newcastle held firm to record a fourth win of the season.
“It is not easy to keep believing when you have so many defeats, so many narrow defeats where you think do we deserve it, but my part is to keep everyone’s heads held high,” said Wagner.
“We have to make sure our performances are the same level as they have been. At the moment we are playing very well, consistently, but don’t have the right result. They had one chance and took it.”
Huddersfield remain 18th and have now lost nine of their last 13 league games.
Last weekend’s agonising 95th-minute Wolves winner left Newcastle winless in three league games following their November revival, adding extra importance to a meeting with fellow strugglers Huddersfield.
The Magpies’ vital winning run in November saw manager Rafael Benitez receive the Premier League manager of the month award earlier this week, but that defeat by Wolves prompted Benitez to label each of his side’s upcoming games as akin to “a final”.
Indeed, the Magpies players cancelled their Christmas party for a second successive year due to their league situation – which now looks substantially healthier.
Newcastle enjoyed just 26% possession at the Kirklees Stadium and spent the majority of the match firmly in their own half as Huddersfield looked much the more ambitious in approach.
When the visitors did venture forward in the first half, Jonas Lossl smothered Fabian Schar’s close-range attempt.
The decisive strike came from another rare but slick move, as Ayoze Perez and Javier Manquillo combined on the right to set-up the in-form Rondon.
Despite more Huddersfield pressure, Newcastle remained defensively solid and stuck to their task to earn what often appeared an unlikely victory, and one which could prove huge in the context of their season.
“Against a team so close to us in the table, and to get three points, it was a good achievement,” said Benitez.
“This group of players deserves credit and today they came together and worked hard. We gave the ball away a little bit in the first half, but in the second half we were better organised. The idea was to exploit them on the counter-attack and exploit the space behind them.”