'Absolutely devastated' - Eddie Howe reacts to Newcastle United's Champions League exit

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
Eddie Howe was left devastated as a 2-1 defeat to AC Milan saw Newcastle United exit the Champions League.

Eddie Howe revealed his devastation at Newcastle United's Champions League exit.

The Magpies lost 2-1 to AC Milan at St James' Park in their Group F decider, a defeat that saw them crash out of Europe altogether.

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Paris Saint-Germain were held to a 1-1 draw in Borussia Dortmund, which meant United would have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League had they held out after Joelinton's first-half opener.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

But Christian Pulisic equalised after the break, putting Newcastle third in the group and in a Europa League spot. But as Howe's men pushed for a winner, Samuel Chukwueze scored a 84th-minute winner on the counter-attack to condemn the home side to bottom spot.

Reflecting on the defeat, Howe said: "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.

"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.

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"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."

With no European football to contend with, Newcastle will focus on improving their position in the Premier League table.

As it stands, the Magpies sit 7th in the top-flight table, seven points off the top four.

"You always have to use disappointment - the setbacks - as motivation and fuel for your fire to make sure you continue to achieve," Howe added.

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"We'll go back to the Premier League and try and do as much as we can to be consistent and stay up there."

He added: "[We have learned] 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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