Eddie Howe has heaped praise on Sven Botman following Newcastle United’s Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth.
Howe admitted after the 1-0 win that the Magpies “weren’t at their fluent best” but found a way to advance into the last eight of the competition.
Adam Smith’s own goal from Kieran Trippier’s cross on 67 minutes decided the tie as United claimed a fifth consecutive clean sheet at St James’ Park.
The Cherries did threaten to breach Botman & Co by playing direct to strikers Kieffer Moore and Dominic Solanke but the home side stood up to the physical challenge.
And it is for that reason why Howe believes Botman played his best “aerial game” since joining Newcastle from Lille for £35million last summer.
Howe said: “I thought he was excellent tonight against the aerial presence of Kieffer Moore and Dominic Solanke.
“Bournemouth went very direct at times, especially in the second half and I thought that was Sven’s best game for us aerially.
“I thought he was dominant and physically very, very good. His use of the ball this season has been excellent but I think he’s really come on in other areas of his game as well.
“A really good night for him.”
Howe named a full strength starting XI to take on his former club, with all five of the club’s World Cup stars Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar and Bruno Guimaraes included.
His team selection paid off and as a result, Newcastle are one win away from competing in their first semi-final since 2005. United will learn their quarter-final opponents on Thursday night.
“We’ve had players away that haven’t had a lot of football,” Howe said. “You can train as much as you want but nothing replicates the game.
“There are some players there that will benefit from the match. We’ve had some friendlies here and even those games, they aren’t competitive games. You can do the best you can but it’s difficult to replicate that.
“We will be better for that game for our next few games to come. It’s important we progressed and the foundation of that tonight was the clean sheet.”