‘EFL Cup final defeat won’t affect Newcastle’s top-four push’

EDDIE Howe does not believe their quest for European football will be affected by Sunday’s EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United.

The Magpies were hoping to claim their first major domestic title since winning the FA Cup in 1955, when they faced the Red Devils in the EFL Cup final on Sunday.

Man United managed to establish a two-goal lead in the first half, courtesy of a Casemiro header and Marcus Rashford’s deflected strike.

While Newcastle attempted to find a way back into the contest, they ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat, ensuring their wait for silverware goes on.

Speaking to the media after the final, Howe claimed that he is already “desperate” to return to Wembley in the future with Newcastle.

Howe told reporters: “We’re left with a feeling of defeat in the final, which is never nice, and we’re desperately disappointed.

“But already, for me, you look to the future and you’re desperate to get back here and win a trophy. The supporters have been abso­lutely incredible for us this year, and to see them disappointed at the end hurts badly.

“The motivation and the thoughts have already turned to how we can get back here and win them the trophy that they deserve.

“But we have to improve. We can’t stand still, we can’t think that we’re something at this moment in time, we have to prove we are and go again.”

Newcastle are currently sat in fifth position in the Premier League table – four points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who have played two games more.

Although his side are “disap­pointed” with the result, Howe does not feel that it will harm their attempts to qualify for the Cham­pions League.

“I don’t think that (the risk of an EFL Cup final hangover) will be an issue,” he said. “These players have responded every time they’ve been questioned this season.

“They will be disappointed to­day, and we’ve got a very difficult next game to come (Manchester City away).

“It’s probably the most difficult in the football calendar, but that will be a great challenge for us to go into.”

Newcastle will attempt to end their four-game winless run in all competitions, when they face Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. —Reuters

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