Man United vs. Newcastle — Eddie Howe: Pre-Match Press Conference

Newcastle United will face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday in a pivotal, crucial Premier League clash with European qualification on the line for both sides.

Newcastle, currently in sixth place and with a top-5 finish nothing but impossible now, are looking to maintain their position in the table (Chelsea is tied with them, 57 points each) while trying to block Man Utd (54 points) from inching closer to them in the standings.

The Magpies’ recent form has been strong, including a 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion and victories over Burnley and Sheffield United, but last weekend’s tie certainly meant NUFC will most probably not finish fifth as the club hoped just over a week ago.

Manchester United, meanwhile, are coming off a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, which followed a 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace. Somehow, however, Erik ten Hag is still the man sitting on Old Trafford’s bench for reasons unknown to the world.

The Red Devils are three points behind both Newcastle and Chelsea and will probably finish eighth. Shocker! Despite some key players returning to training at Manchester—including Scott McTominay, Lisandro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford—only McTominay featured in the loss to Arsenal. Amad Diallo, who started his first Premier League match of the season, sustained a knee injury but downplayed its severity post-match. Other key players like Tyrell Malacia, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Mason Mount, and Luke Shaw remain sidelined.

Newcastle’s injury concerns are relatively minimal compared to recent games. Goalkeeper Nick Pope is seemingly available after recovering from a shoulder injury, though he remained an unused substitute against Brighton and it’s not a clear-cut go for Wednesday given the ample time he’s been out.

Kieran Trippier could return to the starting lineup, but Callum Wilson remains doubtful with hamstring tightness, forcing Alexander Isak into a much larger role than the one he’s usually had of late.

Fabian Schar is progressing well but may be rested until the final match of the season. Matt Targett, Lewis Miley, Joe Willock, Jamaal Lascelles, and Sven Botman are still sidelined with long-term injuries, along with the suspended Sandro Tonali who won’t appear in a game until next season.

Harvey Barnes, Miguel Almiron, and Joelinton available for Eddie Howe in this midweek matchup.

Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.co.uk

On Isak and Wilson…

“Alex didn’t train yesterday. We will see if he trains today. He wasn’t feeling 100 percent (against Brighton), I think you could see that – we knew on Friday that he was slightly under the weather.

“We haven’t seen Callum yet. We will see if he is available to train today. If not, we will have him for Brentford.”

On the game against Erik ten Hag’s men…

“It is a massive fixture. We are coming to the end of the season, we are desperate to do well in the game and we will do everything we can to try and win.

“We back the players to give a performance. We don’t underestimate Manchester United – we know how tough it will be. We are under no illusions of the magnitude of this game.

“It is a time to enjoy the situation we are in.”

On that 3-0 Carabao Cup win at the same venue back in November, when Miguel Almirón, Lewis Hall and Joe Willock were on target…

“It was a moment where we were beginning to experience some injuries – it was a real team effort, a real team performance.

“That game has no relevance to this one. It is a new challenge and I back the players. The players will embrace the pressure and be ready for the game.”

On Nick Pope, who returned to the squad this month following his shoulder injury…

“Nick is a player who has come back from a serious injury, a big problem to a big area of the body for a goalkeeper.

“He has still been getting his rhythm back from the training work he has been doing. I am really pleased with how he’s looked. He has continued to improve through training.

“Every game I have a decision to make and that will be another one.”

On Elliot Anderson, who has impressed in midfield recently and provided the assist for Sean Longstaff’s equaliser against the Seagulls on Saturday…

“Elliot has come through the academy here. When I first came to the club, we were aware of him and his talents. He’s really worked on all aspects of the game, and I think he’s been really reliable for us.

“Whatever position I have used in him, he has done very well. Tactically I have asked him to do a couple of things that the team has needed, and he’s done it very well. I am really pleased with his level of maturity and his tactical understanding.”

On the final week of the season and the chance of qualifying for Europe for a second successive season…

“We find ourselves in this position, and it is where we deserve to be. We will be hoping to finish off these two games strongly.

“We must make sure our players go to Manchester United in really good spirits, confident and prepared. Our motivation is to qualify for Europe.”

Howay!

Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights