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HomeChampions LeagueEddie Howe calls Newcastle's narrow loss to Dortmund a 'blow'

Eddie Howe calls Newcastle’s narrow loss to Dortmund a ‘blow’

Eddie Howe believed that Newcastle received a “lesson” on the fine margins of the Champions League as Borussia Dortmund handed them their first defeat of the campaign.

Newcastle, coming off a goalless draw against AC Milan and a 4-1 win over Paris St Germain in their previous matches, was brought back to earth by Felix Nmecha’s controlled finish, which gave Dortmund a 1-0 victory at St James’ Park on a rainy night.

Despite having some opportunities, including Callum Wilson’s attempt saved by a superb stop from Gregor Kobel and hitting the crossbar, as well as Anthony Gordon’s deflected strike hitting the goal frame late in the game, Newcastle lacked the impetus to continue their nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

The defeat left them in third place in Group F, tied on four points with Dortmund and two points behind PSG, who tops the table.

“It was always going to be tight,” the Newcastle boss said. “There are top-quality teams in the group. Tonight is a blow, especially (losing) at home. A lesson in how fine the margins are going to be.

“The ball just wouldn’t go in for us. It was one of those nights. Callum had the first chance of the second half, that was a good one and then we hit the bar twice but just couldn’t force it in.

“Credit to the players, we never gave up, we kept doing the right things. We looked like a goal threat. But we have to be at our best to win and if you dip below that, it is tough to get results at this level.

Eddie Howe bemoans Newcastle’s many injuries against Dortmund

“Any mistake you make is liable to get punished. We made one and seconds later we conceded so there is stuff we could have done better and when we analyse in the cold light of day, we will take a lot.”

Newcastle’s upcoming return trip to Dortmund in two weeks could be crucial in determining whether they will advance to the last 16 in their first appearance in Europe’s elite club competition in 20 years.

The loss on Wednesday became worse by Alexander Isak leaving the field after just 15 minutes, seemingly suffering from a recurrence of a groin strain. In addition, second-half substitute Jacob Murphy had to go off just five minutes after entering the match, with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

“You look at some of the injuries, they are quite difficult to get your head around but we have to adjust,” Howe said.

“We can’t analyse too much, we have to regroup the players. We’re still in a very good position in the Premier League and Champions League.

“(The return game against Dortmund) is going to be hugely important. The next two away games, the league table looks very, very tight so they are great games for us, we have to approach them like that.

“Our lads are very honest and very focused on trying to win and achieve, there are some tired bodies and we have to recover for (the Premier League game at) Wolves (on Saturday).”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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