Newcastle fielded same 10 outfielders for fourth game in a row but were out-run by an Everton side which scored three late goals at Goodison Park; Howe called absence of attacking options "a big miss"
Friday 8 December 2023 11:05, UK
Eddie Howe admitted it's a "big miss" to be without "outstanding" but injured attackers after seeing his weary Newcastle side lose 3-0 at Everton.
As well as goalkeeper Nick Pope, who was replaced by Martin Dubravka, Newcastle are currently missing 10 outfielders to injury: Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Callum Wilson, Elliot Anderson, Sean Longstaff, Sven Botman, Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes, Javier Manquillo and Matt Targett. Sando Tonali is also suspended.
That has led to Howe playing the same 10 outfield players in each of the past four Newcastle games and the strain told on Thursday. They were out-run by Everton 110km to 107km, with their opponents logging 151 sprints to Newcastle's 99.
Howe insisted his side could still have taken something from the game if they had performed better but rued the absence, in particular, of "attacking options", such as Wilson, Barnes, Murphy and Willock.
"There are reasons behind every performance and we have struggled to change our players in-running," he said.
"To have the attacking options we feel we need to change the game, that's not there for us and that's a big miss. There are some quality players, outstanding players that aren't with us at the moment.
"You can potentially do it for a short period of time, the longer you do it the harder it gets. That's not to say it's impossible. That's why I'm disappointed - I think it's a missed opportunity for us and we didn't really grab it and paid the price."
Speaking to Amazon Prime, Howe pointed to missed chances from his side, with Anthony Gordon wasteful on his return to his former club.
"It was a tough night in the end. I thought the first half was very even, a scrappy game - probably what we thought it would be. I don't think we stamped our authority enough on the game in those early stages.
"I thought we had our best spell in the second half, when we camped them in for 15, 20 minutes, but we weren't clinical enough when those chances came. We shot ourselves in the foot, really."
He also defended Kieran Trippier, who was at fault for two of the goals. "Trippier's been absolutely magnificent," said Howe. "He's probably been the catalyst behind what we've done. As a team, we weren't where we needed to be - that's why we didn't win the game."
Sky Sports' Peter Smith:
After dominant wins over Chelsea and Manchester United either side of the draw at Paris St-Germain, where Newcastle were denied by a controversial handball call, Eddie Howe's trusted 10 finally ran out of steam at Everton on Thursday night.
Anthony Gordon had spoken about how battered and bruised the team were after the weekend win over Man Utd but for a fourth match in a row, the same outfielders were asked to go again at Goodison. It was a game too far.
Newcastle were a shadow of the pressing monster they've been at St James' Park. They were lethargic with and without the ball and their attacking play was missing sharpness. Tired legs and tired minds - just look at Kieran Tripper's two late errors.
The stats paint the picture: Everton ran over three kilometres further and made 52 more sprints.
But the tests don't stop, with a trip to Tottenham on Sunday and then a key Champions League game at home to AC Milan on Wednesday. Newcastle need to dig deep.