Newcastle manager Eddie Howe on their late arrival in Milan ahead of the Champions League opener: “It’s not out of the ordinary that that can happen; this was a weather problem, but we’ve been in similar situations.” Newcastle have inadvertently broken UEFA rules on Champions League preparations after their flight to Milan was delayed by more than two hours due to a storm in Italy.
According to UEFA rules, teams must hold their pre-match press conferences between 12pm and 8pm local time the day before a match. A storm blasted through Milan shortly after Newcastle took off at 5 p.m., however it is unclear whether this was the reason of the delay.
When Eddie Howe arrived at the San Siro, he blamed the delay on the weather and admitted they remained on the runway for about two hours before taking off.
Howe argued that the inclement weather that delayed Newcastle’s arrival in Italy would not ruin their Champions League campaign.
The club’s current European expedition didn’t get off to the best of beginnings when, after being granted special permission to practice on Tyneside on Monday morning rather than at the San Siro later in the day, they stayed on the ground for more than two hours.
However, when they finally arrived, Howe was sure that preparations for a tough opening match against Milan would not be affected as a result.
He said: “It’s just part and parcel of the job that we do. It’s not out of the normal that that can happen. This was a weather problem, but we’ve been in similar situations.
“It’s something we’re used to, although it’s a slightly later arrival time than we would have liked for the players. It’s no big deal, though.”
Analysis: Howe will be frustrated behind closed doors Eddie Howe will not be happy with Newcastle’s flight being delayed by almost two and a half hours. We were sat in the press conference waiting for them, no-one told us they were delayed – and before they even got to Milan, they’ve broken UEFA rules.
There was some very bad weather in Milan around 5pm, a really heavy storm, and if that’s the reason for the flight being delayed, that should be accepted.
People may ask why they didn’t fly earlier. Eddie Howe wanted to train in Newcastle rather than at the San Siro, which is very unusual for teams on European duty. They can do that, they’re allowed to do that, they wouldn’t be able to do that in the knock-out stages.
My belief is that the reason he’s done that is because he doesn’t want anyone potentially watching their session the night before the game.
There are knock-on effects of that though, and with their flight delayed by two and a half hours, and turning up for a press conference at 9pm, they probably won’t be at their hotel until 11pm.
Sandro Tonali, who needs to be rested up for the game with an early kick-off, he’s going to have a late night tonight. It doesn’t look too good at this moment in time.
It’ll be something Howe is upset about. We’ll see who’s to blame, but it’s not a good start for their first game back in the Champions League. You’d think that because Newcastle plays so many games away from home in England, they’d know they want to get situated in their hotel well before this.