Howe still chasing European place despite Newcastle's injury woes

AFP , Monday 1 Apr 2024

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has yet to abandon a quest for a European place this season despite a mounting list of injuries.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe. AFP


The Magpies increased their chances of a top-six finish with an astonishing 4-3 win over West Ham on Saturday, a game where they were 3-1 down with just 13 minutes remaining.

Victory came at a cost, however, with Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury which could sideline him for up to nine months.

Lascelles joined a growing injury list, but with Newcastle now five points off the top six, Howe was in defiant mood ahead of Tuesday's match at home to a struggling Everton.

"There was always that feeling that the season was alive but, of course, you have to win games and the more you don't win, the more the season slips away very quickly," said Howe.

"We know the quality of the league and we know how difficult it is to win consistently, but that's what we're chasing now."

Lascelles's setback came less than a fortnight after fellow central defender Sven Botman suffered a similar injury.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope -- who is still sidelined - and frontman Jacob Murphy have dislocated shoulders.

Defender Dan Burn broke a bone in his back, Joelinton damaged a thigh tendon, Joe Willock sat out extended periods with hamstring and Achilles injuries and striker Callum Wilson is currently recovering from pectoral muscle surgery.

Harvey Barnes, whose two goals after coming on as a substitute on Saturday did for West Ham, spent over four months out of action with a toe injury.

But Howe said: "I always say the team is made up of the character of the players, and you could see the character shining through because I think without that, we were dead and buried and we wouldn't have come back in the manner that we did.

"The spirit is still there and that's the most important thing beyond anything. If you have spirit, you have a chance."

Newcastle go into the Everton game with doubts over Tino Livramento and Miguel Almiron, who limped off at the weekend with ankle and knee injuries respectively, but are hopeful Kieran Trippier could return from a calf problem.

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