Newcastle United haunted by Mauricio Pochettino as Eddie Howe explains his Man United selection

Newcastle United had a dream snatched out of their hands last night at Old Trafford but they could still make amends before the week is over.

Quite what the mood is like on that long-haul flight to Australia on Sunday is anybody’s guess right now. It could be euphoric, it could be absolutely horrendous and still with two exhibition games to play Down Under at the end of a long hard season.

The truth is Newcastle had a tap-in when it came to avoiding taking things to the final day against Brentford. They needed only to see off Brighton and get something at Old Trafford last night.

READ MORE: Tino Livramento absence explained as Newcastle United star sees season curtailed early

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Mauricio Pochettino’s side now have a clear advantage for the Europa League spot. Poch’s words were haunting Newcastle last night.

The former Argentina international said, after his side beat Brighton: “I’m so happy and it allows us to dream to play in Europe next season. It’s always very competitive, the Premier League is the toughest league in the world. Full credit to the players, we fully deserved the victory.”

As Pochettino was contemplating ending a season of extreme difficulty by finishing above Newcastle, Howe’s mood was different. He was not defeated in his press conference, far from it. But he was far from pleased either.

It is easy to say after the event but Howe could have started the game with Nick Pope, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron. The call was that it was too early to do so, and the majority of fans would have agreed before the game at Man United.

If that was based on fitness, the question has now moved to the mentality of the players. Were they confident enough to do the job at Man United last night? They started with swagger, which Howe agreed with, but things began to unfold and not in a good way.

When asked about selection Howe said: “We have players back and available, but are they 100 per cent themselves? No. That’s the difficult position that I’m in. I need them to enter the pitch feeling themselves and feeling really good.

“I picked the team that I went with, and I believed in the team. I thought the team performed well, but just not well enough in those key moments.”

Starting Kieran Trippier was also forced upon him, Howe said: “That was dictated to by Tino Livramento. Tino picked up an injury on Saturday to his ankle. So, Kieran had to play when he’s had limited training time.

“But like a number of players for us this season, he’s put himself forward for the group. I think he played well, but he was fatiguing in that moment (in the second half), so we had to take him off.”

After injury after injury, it is no surprise that Newcastle are staggering over the finish line. It is now whether those left standing in terms of fitness are capable of finishing the job – something Howe will be asking himself ahead of the crunch clash with the Bees.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/newcastle-united-haunted-mauricio-pochettino-29179402

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