After their encounter against AC Milan, Eddie Howe expressed his gratitude to one of his excellent important players.

Eddie Howe showed his gratitude to Nick Pope after the goalkeeper made a run of superb saves to secure Newcastle a crucial draw against Milan at the San Siro.

Pope was recently discarded by England, but he timed his return to form to coincide with his team’s first appearance in Europe’s premier competition since 2003. In the first 20 minutes, he made six crucial stops.

Newcastle marks its return to the Champions League with a draw against Milan, thanks to Pope

“Nick was outstanding,” remarked Howe. “There aren’t many keepers who could have made all those saves, and his distribution was excellent under pressure.” He contributed significantly to the clean sheet, but our entire defense contributed.

There was particular praise from the manager for his central defenders, Fabian Schär and Sven Botman. “They were very good,” he said.

“We tried to attack and be aggressive but it was a very hostile atmosphere and we didn’t succeed. We perhaps lacked a bit of luck and some of our play was a little bit too loose at times. We’re slightly disappointed at how we used the ball but we’re not disappointed with the result.”

Howe admitted that Newcastle, whose only shot on target came from Sean Longstaff in stoppage time, will need to up their game if they are to progress from a group also containing Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain. “To move on we have to do better,” he said. “We have to improve. We know we can be better with the ball.

“However, this was a new experience for many of us, including myself.” The players had to adjust to the unfriendly environment – the crowd was quite supportive of Milan – and our performance cannot be overstated. Or perhaps the point. Everyone is entitled to their view, but I did not believe the draw was random.”



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