Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Newcastle need the magic of Saint-Maximin to ‘unlock the door’, admits Howe

Eddie Howe says Newcastle are crying out for the “magic” of Allan Saint-Maximin after seeing his side’s Premier League winless streak stretch to six games following a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Howe identified the Magpies’ lack of threat up front after they were forced to rely on an Alexander Isak penalty to salvage a fifth tie of the season after Philip Billing fired the Cherries in front.

Saint-Maximin has been battered by injury since the end of last month and Howe has acknowledged how important the Frenchman will be as he continues to accelerate his progress towards a comeback sometime after the international break.

“I think there’s a massive hole for some like Maxi in a game like today, when you’re playing against a stubborn opponent and you need a bit of magic to unlock the door,” Howe admitted. .

“You will never replace Allan, so we have to find another way. I still believe we can win and be a very effective team without him, just very different.

“There is no one like him in the Premier League, he is a very unique player and he brings gifts to the team that on a day like today you claim, but we just have to improve and we have to be best.”

Newcastle failed to make their territorial dominance count in a frustrating first half, although Kieran Tripper and Joelinton both hit the mark and Bournemouth keeper Neto saved brilliantly to deny both the Brazilian and then Ryan Fraser.

Gary O’Neil’s side threatened to add to Howe’s woes when Billing pounced on a through ball from Jordan Zemura to put the opener past Nick Pope just after the hour mark, but Isak equalized within three minutes after VAR ordered a handball against Cherries defender Jefferson Lerma.

Howe feels there could be more frustration ahead for his side, as the clubs seek to dampen the atmosphere at St James’s Park by sitting deep and hoping to catch them on the counterattack.

“It won’t be a new problem for us, it will be the one that gets there and we have to be better on the ball, more creative and have more patience,” Howe added.

“It’s a bit new for us here at home and adapting to that here at home will be part of our learning.”

As takeover rumors began to swirl, O’Neil remained tight-lipped about his own managerial future, but his team’s improvement was evident as they extended their invincibility under his charge to three games since being maimed 9 -0 at Anfield.

O’Neil is about to find out his fate during the international break but maintains: “I have no idea about myself or my future. I’ll take care of the next game if asked, and let the rest take care of itself.”

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