Eddie Howe reveals what 'baffled' him about Newcastle United's defeat to Crystal Palace as formation explained

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Eddie Howe’s verdict on Newcastle United’s 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Eddie Howe has revealed his disappointment at the way Newcastle United’s performed during their 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.

On the back of a 10-day break since beating Tottenham Hotspur 4-0, the Magpies’ four-match unbeaten run came to an end at Selhurst Park following a second-half brace from Jean Philippe-Mateta. United dropped from sixth to seventh in the Premier League table after Manchester United beat Sheffield United, the team who visit St James’ Park on Saturday.

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Reflecting on the result, Howe told reporters: “Very disappointed with the performance, I thought we were... from the high of Tottenham to the low of tonight, I thought we were disappointing in most aspects of our play and we have to take responsibility for that.

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“Maybe the gap between games didn’t help us on reflection but still, we knew that gap was there and we had to perform better than we did today. I think it is a missed opportunity.

“First couple of minutes looked like we were in a good place but it unravelled into an uncomfortable feeling really where you knew we weren’t firing on all cylinders or playing with brilliant rhythm but we didn’t conceded and we got into half-time 0-0.

“We were relieved to do that and I anticipated a much better second-half. I thought we were better in the second period after about 60 minutes but the two goals we conceded summed up our performance.”

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The visitors’ only shot on target came in the 87th minute through Elliot Anderson. Howe agreed it was his team’s worst performance of 2024 having failed to score in a game for the first time since December.

“I think I’d agree with that,” Howe replied. “We worked during the gap to not have an adverse effect on our performance. We knew the gap was there and we had to take responsible for that, that’s not an excuse but maybe that gap did hamper our rhythm, we looked rusty. But Crystal Palace played well and made it difficult for us so we have to give them credit.

“But usually we’re better technically than that and that was a big area of our game that disappointed me. We gave the ball away too much, we didn’t attack well and we seemed reluctant to shoot around their goal, which baffled me really. We got half a yard and didn’t pull the trigger.”

Howe named an unchanged starting XI from the win over Spurs and struck with his 3-4-3 formation. Asked if he had any regrets at the way he set up his team, Howe replied: “No, I don’t think so. After the win against Tottenham we were prepared to go the same way. I thought tactically the game would suit us that way. I have no issue doing so but our execution has to be better than that. Our execution against Tottenham was of the highest level, tonight it wasn’t.

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“Trying to find a way to help the team in any way we can so yes we made substitutions and tactical tweaks but as always when you talk tactically it is about the attitude of the group first and foremost. If you’re not quite wherever you need to be mentally then it doesn’t matter what you do tactically, you’re going to fall down and I thought that was where we were today.”

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