Eddie Howe’s strong response to ‘lucky’ Newcastle United draw v AC Milan in Champions League

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Edddie Howe reacts to Newcastle United’s goalless draw against AC Milan on their Champions League return.

Eddie Howe has hit back at suggestions that Newcastle United were lucky to walk away from the San Siro with a point.

Newcastle marked their first Champions League game for 20 years by holding seven-time winners AC Milan to a draw. The home side registered 25 shots at goal compared to United’s six.

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Goalkeeper Nick Pope made nine saves in total but Howe doesn’t believe the draw was lucky and instead heaped praise on his defenders.

Newcastle United’s English head coach Eddie Howe looks on before the UEFA Champions League 1st round group F football match between AC Milan and Newcastle at the San Siro stadium in Milan on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United’s English head coach Eddie Howe looks on before the UEFA Champions League 1st round group F football match between AC Milan and Newcastle at the San Siro stadium in Milan on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United’s English head coach Eddie Howe looks on before the UEFA Champions League 1st round group F football match between AC Milan and Newcastle at the San Siro stadium in Milan on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Howe said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I didn’t think the draw was luck on our part. We’re slightly disappointed with how we played with the ball tonight but there’s loads of different reasons for that.

“I thought the way we defended was commendable with the amount of blocked shots and how many times we threw ourselves at the ball. We were determined to defend our goal. Yes, our goalkeeper played well but it was a really good defensive display.

“It was a very hostile atmosphere, a difficult place to come but I can’t underestimate the power of that draw today.”

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On Nick Pope, Howe added: “I thought he was outstanding today. He was excellent against Brentford although he didn’t have a lot to do and his all-round game was at his highest level.

“It’s no coincidence Two big displays and two clean sheets from him which is absolutely crucial to us. He was a huge part of our success last year and no doubt he’ll be the same this year.”

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