Before meeting workers at a boiler manufacturer and an engineering firm, then attending a local anti-fracking meeting, the Labour leader said: "I campaigned for remain and reform in the referendum of 2016".
But even extending the transition period led to a compromise between May and the EU-27, there is no guarantee that she would be able to sell such a deal to her divided Conservative party.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was "cautiously optimistic" that an agreement would be made "in the coming weeks".
The two sides remain deadlocked, and this week's summit, which had been billed as a make-or-break moment, turned simply into a chance for Britain and the European Union to give themselves more time - perhaps until the end of the year - to break the logjam.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday she is considering a European Union proposal that would keep Britain bound to the bloc's rules for more than two years after it leaves, and idea that angers her pro-Brexit critics in the United Kingdom.
Arriving for a second day of talks, May noted that both sides remained at odds over a "backstop" plan to avoid frontier checks with Ireland if and until a new trade deal could be signed that resolves the issue.
The talks were plunged into crisis following the Salzburg on the September 19 when Tusk declared May's proposed Chequers Brexit plan would "not work".
Should a solution not be found, the transition period, which is supposed to run until the end of 2020, could be extended by a year.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk hold a news conference at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 18, 2018.
"The point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020", the prime minister said. The plan is known as the backstop because it's an insurance clause to make sure that no matter what future trading arrangement the two sides decide on, no new border will emerge on the island of Ireland.
DExEU's language is cautious, insisting that "it has always been the case that as we get nearer to March 2019, preparations for a no-deal scenario would have to be accelerated".
The backstop would not be time-limited and apply as long as other solutions, such as technological solutions, have not been found.
Although the EU-UK talks collapsed on Sunday (14 October), Prime Minister Theresa May will probably find out that brokering a final withdrawal deal with the bloc will actually be easier than successfully piloting it through the UK Parliament. With the threat of no-deal looming larger than ever, we might need to replace that old Brussels adage with the question: what if nothing is ever agreed?
He also denied his late-night Wednesday drink with Mrs Merkel and Belgium's Charles Michel and Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel was a snub to Mrs May, explaining the prime minister had already left the European Union summit before they headed out.
Merkel said: "Where there's a will, there should be a way".
"As long as we don't have a satisfactory solution we can not really explain in a satisfactory way how this is to come about but I think where there is a will there is a way".
"It's maybe more an emotional impression than a rational one but emotions matter in politics".
May conceded: "There will be more hard moments as we enter the final stages of the talks, but I'm convinced we will secure a good deal".
While the transition extension may not break the deadlock, it energised her critics in London, who warned Britain could not be indefinitely tied to the EU.