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Eddie Howe reflects on Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 “I thought we played OK”

2 weeks ago
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Today marked exactly two months since Eddie Howe was appointed as the Newcastle United Head Coach.

Since 8 November 2021, I don’t think there will have been a day quite like this one, when it comes to the former Bournemouth boss learning so much about what he has inherited at St James Park.

Eddie Howe giving maybe what will be a surprising reaction for most, to what he witnessed today.

The NUFC Head Coach declaring ‘I thought we played OK.’

Which Eddie Howe then qualified with / added to, when he said ‘And that may get me a few funny looks…but we created a number of opportunities, the attitude, feeling and body language was good.’

I kind of see where he is coming from and I think in reality it was a game of two halves.

The first half, Newcastle United should have had the game won comfortably, only for shocking finishing, poor final balls and an inspired performance from the visiting keeper preventing NUFC opening up a winning lead.

The second half was a shocker, as Newcastle faded badly and offered so little.

The stats below tell you that Newcastle United had more shots (13) in the second half than before the break (10)…but the reality was that six on target in the first half compared to three after half-time tells the true story. Plus, one of those three came in the fifth minute of added time when Joelinton’s header was tipped over, whilst another of the three was a weak shot from Krafth that barely reached the keeper.

Jacob Murphy alone, could and should have had a hat-trick in the first-half, but like so many of his teammates he is so weak in front of goal. The one chance that Murphy did catch perfectly around ten yards out, saw visiting keeper Mitov pull off an outstanding save.

I see some fans were quick to question commitment after the final whistle but I think that whilst you could level that accusation at one or two who made it onto the pitch today, for most of them it is simply the fact that they don’t have enough quality. Especially in front of goal.

Eddie Howe talking to BBC Newcastle after Cambridge won 1-0 at St James Park:

“It’s a really difficult one to assess because I thought we played OK.

“And that may get me a few funny looks…but we created a number of opportunities, the attitude, feeling and body language was good.

“The longer we went without a goal affected us.

“We should have done a lot better around the box.

“The quality of our attacking output was low – the finishing wasn’t very good.

“So, lots to improve, but the overall performance, in getting the ball to that point, I thought was OK.”

Eddie Howe on potentially players back for Watford next Saturday:

“We hope to have a couple back for next week.

“But, it’s changing daily, and the problem with Covid is you can’t say for certain because it’s changing daily.

“You can lose a couple of players – or even more – in one day, which is what happened to us this week.”

Eddie Howe on whether Newcastle United will sign more players next week:

“We would love to.

“I think you can see what Kieran did to the team.

“The response to him was first class.

“New signings at this moment would breathe new confidence into the team. So, fingers crossed.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Saturday 8 January 3pm

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Goals:

Cambridge:

Ironside 56

Newcastle:

Possession was Cambridge 42% (40%) Newcastle 58% (60%)

Total shots were Cambridge 7 (4) Newcastle 23 (10)

Shots on target were Cambridge 4 (2) Newcastle 9 (6)

Corners were Cambridge 1 (1) Newcastle 12 (5)

Crowd: 51,395 (4,830 Cambridge)

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Trippier, Krafth, Schar, Ritchie (Manquillo 78), Shelvey, Sean Longstaff (Almiron 60), Murphy (Willock 60), Fraser, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Dummett, Hendrick, Anderson, White

(Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

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