Newcastle boss Howe plays down Manchester United revenge mission
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said revenge is not on his mind ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup trip to Manchester United for a repeat of last season’s final.
Howe’s side were beaten 2-0 at Wembley in February as Newcastle’s agonisingly long wait for a first domestic trophy, stretching back to 1955, was extended for at least another season.
Erik ten Hag’s team have been disappointing this season and were brushed aside 3-0 in the Manchester derby at the weekend.
But Howe was adamant that rubbing salt into United’s wounds and gaining vengeance was not top of his priority list.
“That’s not our emotion as I sit here now,” he said on the eve of the fourth round tie.
“Our emotion is just to try to prepare and win the game. One win and we’re into the quarter-final of the competition.”
Despite United’s poor form, Howe believes Ten Hag’s men are still fighting for the cause.
“They’ve got some very good results lately and have won some games late. They’ve shown some real character and spirit in those difficult moments to come through those challenges,” he said.
“Whenever you play Manchester City they’re very, very difficult games. When you go into a cup tie, to a degree you leave that form behind. This is a one-off game and I’m sure both teams will be motivated to try and win.”
Newcastle have recovered well after a frustrating start to the season and are sixth in the Premier League table after Saturday’s draw at Wolves.
Injuries to several players in recent weeks, as well as a 10-month ban handed down to Sandro Tonali for breaching betting rules, has stretched Howe’s squad, with the Champions League an added commitment this season.
“You can have a game where you lose one or two players and suddenly the outlook and dynamic of the squad changes,” he said.
“But you just have to roll with the punches, absorb the hits and that’s what we’re going to try to do.
“It’s not ideal for us, especially with the season we have. It’s a totally different feel to last season where we could maybe absorb those hits a bit easier with the week-to-week games.
“We’re not in that position now so we’re going to need everybody in the squad to step up, which I think is the key message. Everyone has to give a bit more.”