Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Newcastle in the Champions League after 20 years

Newcastle United drew goalless with Leicester City who are in danger of relegation on Monday night in the English Premier League. With that, the club qualified for the Champions League by ending a long wait of 20 years. Coach Eddie Howe is full of praise for his students for this remarkable achievement.

Newcastle needed just one point from their last two games to qualify for the Champions League as fifth-placed Liverpool drew with Aston Villa on Saturday. Hoy’s third-placed side achieved that goal at the first opportunity at St James’ Park yesterday.

After the match, Howe said: ‘It’s a really big relief, a great night. Everyone has high hopes and dreams. But we didn’t think we were ready for the top four. After last season’s relegation battle we have come together to form a good team. I have to praise the whole team. Because everyone worked hard. Everyone’s expectations were high.’

In just 18 months, coach Howe can be given full credit for coming out of the relegation drought and finishing the season in the top four in the Premier League. At the same time, the financial solvency of the Saudi-owned club is also a big factor. For the first time since 1999, the Magpies have played in the final of a domestic competition. They lost to Manchester United in the League Cup final though.

Newcastle last played in the Champions League under Bobby Robson two decades ago. After returning to Europe’s top flight, the Magpies are now beginning to believe their transformation will continue in Europe. “This journey is still unbelievable to me,” Howe said. Appreciation alone is not enough for the players. Their attitude, their mentality was on another level. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to direct them. We all achieved a great success together, and that’s a relief.’

(23 May/MM)


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