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Newcastle absolutely devastated by Champions League exit


Eddie Howe admitted Newcastle United were “absolutely devastated” to have crashed out of the Champions League.

The Magpies knew that a win over AC Milan at St James’ Park might be enough to squeak through to the knockout stages, providing Paris Saint-Germain were unable to pick up an away win against Borussia Dortmund.

PSG were unable to get the job done in Germany, drawing 1-1 after Kylian Mbappe saw a potential winner ruled out for offside, and that opened the door for Newcastle to qualify alongside Dortmund.

Howe’s injury-ravaged side were on course to get the job done after Joelinton’s first half goal sent the home crowd wild, but former Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic levelled proceedings up on the hour before Samuel Chukwueze broke Toon hearts six minutes from time, earning Milan a narrow 2-1 win.

“I thought there were some really good bits, we were dominant at times, but probably needed the second goal. We didn’t defend the two goals well enough,” Howe told TNT Sports after the game.

“It was very much end to end. Both teams were desperate to win. We wanted to win the game and we were trying to head for the Champions League so we had to be brave.

Newcastle had taken the lead through Joelinton, seen here celebrating with Bruno Guimaraes

Newcastle had taken the lead through Joelinton, seen here celebrating with Bruno Guimaraes / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

“They had to be brave. It made for a very good game. We did create chances and we’re absolutely devastated not to go through.”

Newcastle’s late defeat saw Milan leapfrog them into third place in the group – Stefano Pioli’s side will now compete in the Europa League knockout round play-offs in a bid to drop into the last 16 of that competition, while Howe’s side are out of Europe completely.

On what Newcastle have learned from the experience, Howe added: “So much.

“The value of the squad first and foremost, that’s what’s exposed us, the fact we haven’t had the ability to utilise the squad we’ve created. We’ve gone into games very limited in what we can do and that hasn’t helped us.”

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