‘Overblown’ - Newcastle United respond to Manchester United ‘mind games’ after time-wasting jibe

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Newcastle United and Manchester United meet again - just over a month after the Carabao Cup final.

Eddie Howe has defended his tactics - after Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag branded Newcastle United an “annoying team”.

The Dutchman made that claim in the build-up to the Carabao Cup final in February when the Magpies lost 2-0 at Wembley. Ten Hag also suggested Howe’s men were good at time-wasting.

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He said: “It’s a great team, they have a clear philosophy about how they want to play the game.

“The key word is intensity, they do really well, but they’re an annoying team to play against, so we have to find a way to win. They try to annoy you. We have to play our game and focus on our game.”

Erik ten Hag and Eddie Howe will square off at Wembley (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)Erik ten Hag and Eddie Howe will square off at Wembley (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Erik ten Hag and Eddie Howe will square off at Wembley (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

When it was suggested Newcastle are “annoying” for their apparent time-wasting, Ten Hag replied: “Yeah. For instance, so if you see from the FA, the referees want to play an effective time.

“They have the lowest in the league and they are quite successful with it. So it’s up to us that we get speed in the game and we are also then dependent on the refereeing as well.”

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As the two sides prepare to meet at St James’ Park on Sunday (kick-off 4:30pm), Ten Hag’s comments were put to Magpies head coach Howe.

"It’s part of the game [game management], but not the main part of the game,” the 45-year-old said: “The main part of the game is we have to play well. We have to be really good in possession and really good out of possession.

"The game management stuff has been overblown massively towards us in the media. That’s just my opinion.

"First and foremost, we want to be a good football team, but if there are things you can do, as Kieran [Trippier] showed for the penalty, to help your team in certain moments, that are all within the laws of the game, we will try to do it."

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Asked if it were mind games being played, Howe replied: "Possibly. I can’t speak for how they are preparing their teams and what they are saying in the media. Certainly I think it has been overblown."

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