Eddie Howe has vowed to turnaround Newcastle’s poor away form after defeat at Tottenham, but backed his injury-hit team to bounce back in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with AC Milan.
Howe was able to welcome back Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson into his matchday squad on Sunday, although remained without 10 first-teamers for the 4-1 loss in north London.
It made it five defeats in eight away Premier League matches this season, but there is little time for Newcastle to lick their wounds with a must-win clash against AC Milan in midweek.
Magpies chief Howe acknowledged: “It is up to us to find the answers to that. Yeah, I can’t defend it, I can’t defend it so I won’t.
“We will have to (lift ourselves for Wednesday).
“Football is a game decided on big moments and we haven’t been right in those big moments in the last two matches.
“Previous to that, we have been and I think our away form will turn because we’re a very good team, but we need to continue with our good home form because it’s the bedrock of what we’ve been doing. We don’t want anything to affect that.”
Howe has played the same 10 outfield players in each of the last five matches and defended his decision to name an unchanged team after Thursday’s loss at Everton.
He was able to introduce Longstaff (foot) and Wilson (thigh) for the final 30 minutes of the defeat to Tottenham and admitted he is hopeful of getting more players back in the coming weeks.
“If I make changes, I want to make changes that benefit the team. Everyone I picked wanted to play, felt able to play and had no issues, but of course I understand the backlog and fatigue that can build,” Howe added.
“We can’t afford any more injuries to the players we have fit. We need more players back so hopefully that will be the case over the next few weeks.”
England forward Wilson did survive a poor challenge by Spurs defender Cristian Romero on the 80-minute mark, but Howe side-stepped talk of whether it could have been a red card.
Howe admitted: “I only saw it live. I don’t want to see players sent off, unless it is dangerous.
“It looked high and looked reckless and I am very pleased Callum seemed to not be affected by it.”
While Newcastle were left to reflect on back-to-back defeats, Tottenham toasted a first victory in six matches.
There could be more disruption on the horizon though with managerless Swansea expected to step up their pursuit of Ange Postecoglou’s number two Chris Davies this week.
But Postecoglou insisted: “Ah mate, I have not thought about that, not for an instance. I doubt Chris has as well.
“We will deal with that when the time comes. This is the Premier League and if you’re not in it 100 per cent, if you slip a little bit, you will pay a price and our focus has firmly been on a strong performance and getting a result.”
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