Thursday, April 25, 2024

Eddie Howe admits ‘disjointed’ Newcastle are going through challenging spell

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Feb 2024


Eddie Howe has challenged his players to ride out the wave of chaos which has engulfed the club as Newcastle attempt to rediscover their best form.

The Magpies sailed serenely through last season as they gatecrashed the Premier League’s top four to secure a first Champions League adventure for two decades.

This time around, Howe’s expensively-assembled squad is riven by injury and suspension and the control they exerted for much of the last campaign has deserted them.

Speaking after Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Bournemouth, in which they trailed twice, Howe said: “I’m well aware and I think people who watch us regularly are aware, that we’re not at full power at the moment, we’re not at our fluent best but I think the reasons for that are obvious.

“We are a bit disjointed. We had players playing today who maybe wouldn’t be in their best positions given a free hand. But everyone is giving as much as they can to get consistent results.

“We have to look at the positives: it’s another game unbeaten for us; we’re getting points where we went through a spell when we weren’t.

“That was a big late goal for us. It just keeps that momentum. Of course we’re looking for three points in every home game, so we’re disappointed with certain aspects as well.”

Newcastle went into the game without a recognised striker after Callum Wilson joined Alexander Isak on the sidelines alongside key midfielders Joelinton and Sandro Tonali and first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope.

The balance of the team has been affected significantly by those and other absences – they have scored 17 goals in their last seven league games but conceded 19, four of them against Luton in their last game at St James’ Park a fortnight ago when they had to come back from 4-2 down to claim a point.

This time around, they trailed to Dominic Solanke’s opener after he pounced upon a slip by keeper Martin Dubravka and then Antoine Semenyo’s sweet strike.

Anthony Gordon had cancelled out Solanke’s 16th goal of the season from the spot and substitute Matt Ritchie levelled at the death.

Howe said: “We never know when we’re beaten. At 2-1 today, it would have been easy to not respond – just as it would have been at 4-2 down against Luton. That’s down to the character of the players.”

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola left Tyneside proud of a creditable performance, but fuming at the outcome.

He said: “Today for me, it’s difficult to feel happy. I’m really happy with the performance. I think we deserved the three points.

“We came to a very difficult stadium with tough opposition and I think we did really well. We played very brave with high energy, we had the better chances, we were in front twice and to end with just one point, it’s not what we deserved today.”


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