Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Eddie Howe hails ‘incredible’ Newcastle ‘team player’ after impressive Man Utd draw

Eddie Howe Newcastle v Man Utd

Eddie Howe was full of praise for one Newcastle player in particular after the impressive 1-1 draw against Manchester United at St James’ Park on Monday night.

Edinson Cavani came off the bench to get Manchester United out of jail at Newcastle on a night when they were branded “a bunch of whinge-bags” by former defender Gary Neville.

The Uruguay international’s 71st-minute equaliser at St James’ Park salvaged a 1-1 draw after Allan Saint-Maximin’s early strike had threatened to hand the struggling Magpies just their second Premier League win of the season.

Television pundit Neville delivered a withering half-time verdict on the visitors’ attitude, and had it not been for the woodwork and a stunning late save from David De Gea, they would have headed back across the Pennines empty-handed after their first outing in 16 days.

They were spectacularly wasteful in possession for much of the game and decidedly shaky at the back to leave the Magpies, playing their fourth game in 16 days, in with a genuine chance of victory to the death.

Speaking after the game, Howe was full of praise for his side’s performance and in particular Man of the Match Joelinton.

He told Sky Sports: “When we initially came in we thought Joelinton would play as a number 10, a second striker.

“We went down to 10 men against Norwich and reshuffled and played him as an eight and he was brilliant defensively. He has a tactical understanding. From then on I thought he had technical capabilities. You’ve seen tonight he’s been brilliant defensively. His work-rate and the amount of ground he covers is incredible. He’s a real team player. Such ability as well. He can only get better.

Howe curses De Gea display

“We are very disappointed [not to win]. We deserved to win. The lads executed the game plan brilliantly. We had to be very good defensively in midfield. I thought we were very good and didn’t deserve to concede. How David de Gea saved from Miguel Almiron at the end, I don’t know. I thought it was in. Hopefully we’ve seen the beginning of a new team and how we want to play.

“We want more control in games. At the moment we have to take small steps to build to be the team we want to be. We have very good transition players, quick players. We really hurt Man Utd on transitions today. But for a bit more luck we could have won the game.”

On Allan Saint-Maximin’s performance, he added: “Naturally with someone like him you want him to have the ball all the time. When he’s on song there’s nobody quite like him. Key to our success is trying to feed him as much as we can.”

Howe also spoke injuries suffered by Callum Wilson and Saint-Maximin during the game, adding: “We don’t know. When Callum went down it looked a bad one because nobody was round him. He felt he’d been kicked but we didn’t see it. Allan, I don’t think is as serious but serious enough to bring him off. We are stretched. Difficult moments for us. The lads gave everything but we are thin on the ground in terms of bodies.

“I believe it’s 13 plus a goalkeeper [to have enough players for a game]. We’re going to be dangerously close to that number.”

Longstaff rues Man Utd leveller

Midfielder Sean Longstaff was left to rue Newcastle’s failure to see out the game and deservedly take all three points.

He told Sky Sports: “I think on the balance of the game, I think we feel we deserved the three points.

“I think we created a lot of good chances and probably created the most in a game for a very long time so it’s a really disappointed dressing room but also one that knows we’re capable of putting in a performance like that.

“It’s been a positive start with the new manager coming in, it’s given us a little boost and you see the performances with the crowd behind us, that’s a massive boost as well.

“Tonight is what St James’ Park is all about. It was an incredible atmosphere.”

PLAYER RATINGS: Two Newcastle men excel in old-school St James’ display; Man Utd thankful to often criticised star