Luis Enrique’s pre-match Newcastle United verdict runs true as unlikely quartet play major part in PSG win

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Newcastle United hammered Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 at St James’ Park to win their first Champions League game since 2003.

History makers. They said Newcastle United did not belong at this level. Wow, how the so-called critics got it wrong.

The Magpies smashed one of the tournament favourites on home turf, and now put themselves in a great position to progress from Group F of the Champions League, the one which was supposedly impossible for them to get out of.

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The result was wide and the performance immense - but how did Newcastle do it? Here are five points which played their part in what was a truly momentous night on Tyneside.

Dan Burn - what a story

He’s from Blyth. I think we were all from Blyth for a minute or two in that first half.

What a story. Boyhood fan, let go as a kid, had to go the hard route to the top flight via Darlington, Yeovil, Fulham, Wigan and Brighton and now a Champions League goalscorer.

It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Dan Burn celebrates scoring Newcastle United’s second goal. Dan Burn celebrates scoring Newcastle United’s second goal.
Dan Burn celebrates scoring Newcastle United’s second goal. | Getty Images

Many a fan will have worried for him when they saw the front four posted by PSG, but he dealt with everything they could throw at United and more.

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He should be proud as punch at what he achieved last night. A performance for the ages.

Fortress St James’

Luis Enrique said it before a ball was kicked, Newcastle were the team everyone wanted to avoid from pot four - and now it’s easy to see why.

At St James’ Park this version of Newcastle are a match for anyone on their day. The synergy between fans and players is at peak levels - making the matchday a potent mix of belief, ability and raw passion.

Dortmund and AC Milan will face similar white-hot environments in the coming months, and you wouldn’t bet against the Magpies bloodying a few more noses before their European chapter for this season is over.

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Bruno is made for this level

Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United celebrates as Fabian Schaer of Newcastle United (not pictured) scores the team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United celebrates as Fabian Schaer of Newcastle United (not pictured) scores the team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United celebrates as Fabian Schaer of Newcastle United (not pictured) scores the team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. | Getty Images

We knew it really, but he still had to prove it. Bruno Guimaraes is not only at home in the Champions League, last night he owned it.

He’s got that swagger back - it’s been creeping back since that second half at Bramall Lane - and he’s not afraid to show it. However, tonight wasn’t just about his quality and confidence, his hard work really set the tone for the Magpies. He covered every blade of grass.

His start to the season may have been slow, but he’s firing on all cylinders now.

Miggy is on fire

He’s a player who when he’s hot, he’s really hot.

Miggy Almiron became the first Newcastle United player to score in the Champions League since Alan Shearer against Inter Milan in 2003.

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Three in three and you can bet he’ll keep the goals coming. Watch out West Ham, the Paraguayan’s found his goalscoring touch, and when he does, he’s one of the hardest players to stop.

Newer money beats the original new money? Nah, it was more than that

Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United celebrates with Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United after scoring the team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United celebrates with Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United after scoring the team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United celebrates with Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United after scoring the team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Newcastle United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at St. James Park on October 04, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. | Getty Images

Saudi v Qatar. Newer money beats the original new money. That talk only cheapens what happened on Wednesday night.

To talk of cash only takes away what has been achieved at St James’ Park in a remarkably short space of time.

For perspective, goalscorer Fabian Schar and skipper Jamaal Lascelles were the centre half partnership while Newcastle battled relegation every season. They limited one of the most potent frontlines in world football tonight.

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Sean Longstaff was handed his debut by Rafa Benitez, Miguel Almiron was signed by him. They’re still here, improving every season, and now playing a major part in Champions League success.

Of course, PIF magic dust in the form of Guimaraes and others has helped, but the core of this team was fighting for their lives less than two years ago - and that’s something that cannot be forgotten.

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