Eddie Howe reacts to second Newcastle United defeat in 8 months – Perspective
Exactly eight months today, Eddie Howe and his players lost, heavily, at Manchester City.
On their way to winning the Premier League title, Pep Guardiola’s side hammering Newcastle United 5-0 at The Etihad.
That game on 8 May 2022, now a distant memory.
This morning, eight months after that loss to the team who were set to retain the league title, Eddie Howe now has experienced his second defeat since that Etihad loss.
A bit of perspective for anybody getting a little too excitable after Saturday’s defeat with a much changed team.
Eddie Howe explaining below exactly why it was a much changed team, though surely he doesn’t have to, as it is all a little pathetic if any Newcastle fan questions his decision making. The Head Coach clearly doing what he thinks was best for Newcastle United.
The only other defeat these past eight months was the very undeserved loss at Anfield, when the referee kept adding on time until Liverpool scored the winner.
The form of Newcastle United has been extraordinary and little wonder then that it becomes so much harder for fans to take when defeat comes along, even more so I reckon for Eddie Howe, who has put heart and soul into the job.
Since 8 May 2022 it had been one defeat in 23 games in all competitions for Newcastle United, now it is two in 24. Not the end of the world, just an acceptance that this is where we are at, competing in three competitions is a real stretch and you can’t play the exact same eleven players in every game. At least that is what Eddie Howe believes and I’m not arguing with him.
As well as getting used to not losing, Eddie Howe and the fans have become accustomed to not seeing many goals conceded either.
Before Saturday, the previous 42 NUFC games had seen the team concede more than one goal in a match on only four occasions, home and away to Man City, away at Tottenham last season, plus that late defeat at Anfield.
Now it is five occasions in 43 that Newcastle have conceded more than one goal, once again, giving what happened at Hillsborough a little more perspective.
Newcastle United played a weakened team, still created more and better chances than the opposition, but didn’t take them.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday took advantage of the opposition’s much changed line-up, especially at the back, then when those changes helped produce a few good opportunities, Josh Windass took two of them with smart finishes.
As a currently out of work manager who once managed both of these clubs might say, now time for Eddie Howe and his squad to ‘Dust woorselves doon’ and prepare for Tuesday night and the opportunity to head into a cup semi-final.
Eddie Howe explains his planning for Saturday’s match and the factors that he believes played a part in Newcastle’s defeat at Sheffield Wednesday:
“We are bitterly disappointed to go out.
“I thought that our performance was OK.
“We created enough chances to win the tie.
“Their goalkeeper made a number of great saves but we weren’t clinical enough when those presentable opportunities were there.
“We have to accept the defeat, Sheffield Wednesday battled for everything as we did, but it wasn’t to be.
“We have a very small squad and I have to protect that squad for games ahead.
“We felt we were strong enough to win the game today and I stick by that, based on the first-half performance, where we had chances to score but we just weren’t clinical in front of goal.
“The Leicester game (in the Carabao Cup) was on the horizon for us (on Tuesday) and we picked a team based with that game in mind, plus another Premier League game next weekend (Fulham at St James’ Park next Sunday).
“If that (Leicester) game wasn’t there, the team selection would have possibly been different today.
“We are trying to juggle everything, make sure we are strong enough to win and I thought we were, but obviously that didn’t materialise.
“I think you always want to give people opportunities to play, stake their own claims to play more regularly, but you have got to get the balance right between making changes and trying to win the game.
“I think you pick it looking ahead at future games of course.
“We have a very quick turnaround, a late kick-off today, and I felt I saw some fatigue in the Arsenal performance.
“The lads gave everything and I felt it would have been unwise of me to pick the same team for this game and then for Leicester as well.
“I am not sure the lads were physically able to give it their best if I did that.
“Hence the changes.
“We are aware that we don’t have the deepest squad in the Premier League.
“We are light on numbers but we feel high on quality.
“Injuries will dictate how stretched you feel.
“We had an opportunity to play a lot of players that haven’t played a lot of minutes this season.
“I thought there were some positives and negatives within their performances.
“However, I think that it is probably better that I analyse that in the cold light of day.”
Eddie Howe asked about the fact that Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin were missing from the matchday squad:
“Callum has come off a long illness, the game against Arsenal and this in quick succession, we decided to rest him today.
“Maxi felt under the weather after training yesterday (Friday), so he was also missing.
“It was a huge disappointment that he missed out.
“We hope to get Maxi back to full fitness because he is a game changer, a match winner.
“With him in the team tonight, the result is potentially different.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 7 January 6pm
Windass 52, 65
Possession was Sheff Wed 25% Newcastle 75%
Total shots were Sheff Wed 9 Newcastle 22
Shots on target were Sheff Wed 4 Newcastle 7
Corners were Sheff Wed 1 Newcastle 11
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Attendance: 25,884 (4,500 Newcastle)
Dubravka, Manquillo, Lascelles, Botman, Lewis (Trippier 69), Anderson (Willock 60), Longstaff (Bruno 60), Joelinton, Murphy (Almiron 60), Ritchie, Isak (Wood 45)
Darlow, Dummett, Fraser, Burn,
(3 Positives and 3 Negatives to take from Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)
(Eddie Howe proved right with previous squad comments by what he saw at Hillsborough – Read HERE)
(Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Darren Moore reflects – Winning against Newcastle United one of proudest career moments – Read HERE)
(Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
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