Eddie Howe has been speaking to the media following last night’s 1-0 win over Southampton, believing we deserved the victory but played well below our best at St Mary’s.
On transfers, he refuse to give anything away on our ongoing pursuit of Anthony Gordon, but stressed that the club are ‘actively looking’ for new signings with a week to go until deadline day.
The boss praised Alexander Isak’s ‘magical’ assist, defended Joelinton’s ability to bounce back from big misses and paid tribute to Nick Pope; who stepped up with some vital saves when called upon and ‘kept us in it.’
Howe has reminded both players and fans that the tie remains delicately balanced, stressing the importance of a big performance at St James’ Park next week as ‘nothing is decided’ now we’re 1-0 up at the half-way mark. Here’s the best bits from his post-match chats with the press.
Howe on the result, performance and taking a 1-0 lead to St James’ Park:
“It was very tight, I don’t think we were at our best today but I felt we did enough. There were a lot of talking points, obviously VAR was involved but we’re delighted to win.
“That was our aim but we know 1-0 is delicate nothing is decided. Southampton are a very good team. We go back to St James’ with our fans behind us and hopefully they can make the difference.
“It was a tough game, both sides had their moments and had chances to win the game, but we know it’s only half time and there’s a long way to go.
“We created chances today, we weren’t clinical until the goal. It’s been a good day but there’s still a long way to go in the tie. I can’t be critical in any way. We defended well, Nick made some big saves again.”
Howe when asked if he had an update on our ongoing pursuit of Anthony Gordon:
“Honestly, I’ve got no idea (whether there have been developments over the Gordon deal).
“I’ve been preparing for the game, so I’ve got no idea. But I wouldn’t comment on individual players anyway.
“I’ve got no idea if we’ve got any closer to anything – I’ve not checked my phone – but we’re actively looking, I have said that. But as of tonight, I have no update.”
Howe on Alexander Isak’s fitness after his game-changing cameo and brilliant assist:
“He’s certainly getting there. He was excellent in training yesterday. You can see he’s getting his sharpness.
“He’s going to be a great player for us for now and the future. He’s got quality in his feet. The assist was a magical bit of play.”
Howe on Joelinton’s response to a disallowed goal and huge miss:
“It happens – people miss big opportunities.
“He’s (Joelinton) mentally very strong. His own journey at Newcastle would sort of epitomise that really.
“He’s someone who has real resilience and doesn’t get flustered either way, in success or more disappointing moments.
“When we needed him again, he was on the spot from Alex’s really good play out wide. I’m really pleased for Joe whenever he scores because he feeds off that confidence that goals bring. I thought he played very well tonight.”
Howe on Nick Pope’s second half heroics:
“The two saves he made were big moments. Adams’ one-on-one was at a huge time in the game when they were growing into it and the crowd were getting up but Nick stepped up and kept us in it.
“He’s been outstanding for us this year, the defence has played very well in front of him but when called upon he’s delivered for us.”
Last but not least, here’s Howe’s brilliant reaction to the travelling Toon Army; who got a wave from the boss during his NUFC TV interview: