Former Everton star makes ‘catastrophe’ Newcastle United Champions League claim
The Magpies were in prolific form at Goodison Park as they gave a further boost to their hopes of returning to the Champions League.
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Former Everton and Manchester City star Joleon Lescott believes it would be ‘a catastrophe’ if Newcastle United don’t go on to secure their place in next season’s Champions League.
Eddie Howe’s side were in devastating form once again as they made it ten goals in their last two games with a 4-1 win at an Everton side that looked woefully short of confidence as they struggle to preserve their Premier League status. Unlike Sunday’s goal-laden opening to the win over Spurs, the Magpies took until just before the half-hour mark to open the scoring as Callum Wilson finished from close range after Jordan Pickford had denied Joelinton.
The Brazilian doubled United’s lead with just under 20 minutes remaining before Wilson grabbed his second of the night with a stunning finish from distance. Dwight McNeill temporarily reduced the arrears for the hosts with ten minutes remaining but any hope was soon extinguished when Alexander Isak produced a dazzling solo run that ended with a flick to Jacob Murphy to allow the winger to notch his third goal in two games.
The win, coupled with Manchester United’s draw at Tottenham Hotspur, ensured the Magpies will head into the weekend fixtures sat in third place in the Premier League table. They now hold an eight-point advantage over fifth-placed Spurs with just six games of the season remaining and also have the benefit of holding a game-in-hand over the North London side.
Lescott praised Howe’s men for ‘scoring at will and playing with freedom and confidence’ as their unexpected push for a Champions League place went into overdrive.
He told BT Sport: “Not only on the fixtures that are coming up like Aston Villa versus (Manchester) United, Liverpool versus Spurs, but they way they are playing, they fully deserve it. It would be a catastrophe if they don’t (qualify for the Champions League - but I don’t see that happening. I see them scoring at will, playing with a freedom and confidence that you only get when you’re in that part of the table and they full deserved their win tonight.”
Lescott was joined on the broadcaster’s punditry team by former Magpies striker Michael Owen, who believes his old club ‘preyed’ on Everton’s lack of confidence after ‘weathering the storm’ during a lively start to the game from their struggling hosts.
He said: “They were brilliant in the first 10 minutes, Everton, they had the crowd right behind them, there was a great atmosphere and they (Newcastle) weathered that storm. Everton are in a bit of a flimsy moment whereby the fans want to really get behind them but as soon as things go wrong they are a little bit frail. I think Newcastle preyed on that, they eventually dominated, the class told in the end, but the first goal was always important today and Newcastle getting it took the wind out of their sails.”
Newcastle return to action on Sunday afternoon when they face another relegation threatened side as Southampton travel to St James Park.