Newcastle will play Champions League football for the first time since 2003, Eddie Howe’s men confirmed their ticket for European football after a 0-0 draw against Leicester City at St James’s park to leave foxes on brink of relegation.
Newcastle controlled the game with a dominant display, yet were frustrated by a combination of Leicester’s defending. Dean Smith dropped James Maddison and Harvey Barnes to play with three at the back in a bid to keep their first clean sheet in 22 league games.
Newcastle enjoyed the spell of possession with 78% in their favour, resulting to 23 shots in total and an XG of over 2.05. While the visitors failed to manage a single shot until 93rd minute, Leicester goalkeeper Daniel Iverson had already made four saves to keep them at bay. Instead, it was Leicester’s Timothy Castagne who came close to deciding the game and giving foxes’ hopes of avoiding relegation, but he was denied by Nick Pope. Also read:Historic Season Culminates With Dortmund Holding All The Cards
The Magpies rattled the opposition’s thrice on their way to chalking up 23 shots, Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron should have scored from one of the 12 efforts among themselves. While the visitors felt Guimaraes should have been sent off in only the ninth minute when the studs of the midfielder’s right boot caught the knee of Boubakary Soumare, he came agonisingly close with a header from close range.
Eddie Howe took over the side in October 2021, after Mike Ashhley sold up to the Saudi PIF and Amanda Staveley’s consortium. Eddie Howe’s 19 months with the club seals a remarkable revival of the club, the last time Newcastle finished in the top four was in May 2002 under Sir Bobby Robson. Also read: Vincius Junior accuses La Liga of racism and called Spain a country of racists.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe to Sky Sports: “It’s a big relief, an amazing night to see the supporters react, it’s incredible.”
What was the pre-season target? “It certainly wasn’t top-four. You always have to hope and dream but we didn’t feel we were ready for that after battling relegation. It was about consolidating and becoming a better team. And not have that flirtation with relegation. The lads have been unbelievable, their mentality, their attitude.”
What does this mean for summer recruitment? “There is a small pool of players we can recruit. We have to recruit wisely, which we have done. This will be our toughest transfer window.”
Is this your career highlight? “It’s probably more recognisable around the country due to the scale but my first challenge in Bournemouth to keep them up was incredibly huge to me and the club. This is on a different scale media-wise and I’m just so grateful to be managing here.
“I want success massively for this football club. The only difficult thing is that although you feel like you’ve achieved something great there is no trophy. We want to bring silverware here in the future.”
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