Following our 2-0 defeat to Man City, Eddie Howe reflected on what he believed to be a ‘very good performance’, but criticised our poor form in the final third and gave an update on Bruno’s injury worries.
Similar to our performances in recent weeks, the Magpies did actually play well on the ball, but just failed to find the back of the net after creating a handful of big chances.
Struggling to score has been a common theme as of late, which the 45-year-old is putting down to a combination of a lack of ‘confidence’ and bad luck, but vowed that our fortunes ‘will turn’.
Many criticised Howe for his attacking line-up, but the boss claimed he was keen to ‘keep that high energy’ in the latter stages of the game, hoping they would have a big impact on the outcome.
Another worry for Toon fans is Bruno Guimaraes who again looked to be bothered by the knock he picked up on his ankle last week. However, Howe described it as simply being just a ‘little bit uncomfortable for him today’ and hopefully he can shake it off in the coming days.
On the performance, Howe said: “I thought it was a very good performance from us in many aspects. I thought we pressed really well, and were brave. I thought the players were committed to that. I thought we unsettled them.
“But they have a habit of scoring with minimal chances, which is what they did today. And we had chances, but it weren’t as clinical as them. It’s just one of those things, I think we’re going through a phase where that’s happening to us.
“I thought we were well in the game today. I thought it was similar to last week – we were good, dynamic aggressive. But we couldn’t put that final piece together.”
On making a triple change that saw Isak, ASM and Willock come on, Howe said: “It was our plan to come here and try and attack and give our all physically. It’s difficult to keep that high energy up for 90 minutes so we wanted to break that up with the subs and I was pleased with the impact.
On the issues in the final third, Howe said: “There’s probably an element of lack of confidence and sometimes football just works against you. The work is going in on the training ground and it will turn.”
On Bruno’s ankle issue, Howe said: “It was no problem pre-game, he was fine in training, he trained every day. Maybe he was a little bit uncomfortable today but I thought he played his part on a good performance.”