'Positive' - Newcastle United handed £88m double boost ahead of Blackburn Rovers & Wolves

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock scored on his return from injury. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock scored on his return from injury. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock scored on his return from injury. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Eddie Howe named two positives from Newcastle United's 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe says he is struggling to find the positives from the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal - but admitted there were two reasons to be optimistic.

The Magpies welcomed back attacking duo Alexander Isak and Joe Willock from their respective injuries with the latter scoring a consolation goal in the 84th minute.

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Isak had missed the previous three games with a recurring groin issue but was passed fit to start at the Emirates and got 64 minutes under his belt.

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock scored on his return from injury. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock scored on his return from injury. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock scored on his return from injury. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Willock, meanwhile, was introduced as a second-half substitute in his first appearance since November and went on to net his second goal of the campaign when he headed home Dan Burn's cross.

Howe told NewcastleWorld: "I think Joe's cameo was excellent and I think again he showed exactly what we've missed from him and his qualities of attacking the box late and getting goals.

"Alex's return was a huge positive and hopefully improved for that 60 minutes. Apart from that I'm struggling to find too many more [positives]."

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Howe was left frustrated by Newcastle's first-half performance in North London after trailing 2-0 following Sven Botman's own goal and Kai Havertz's strike.

Newcastle improved after the break but Bukayo Saka's third goal ended United's hope of a comeback. The scoreline quickly became 4-0 through Jakub Kiwior.

“Disappointed with the first-half especially," said Howe. "Hugely disappointing from our perspective as I don’t think we truly got going in that first-half.

"They put us under pressure, initially I thought that’d just be at the start of the game and we’d weather it and come into it but at no stage did we really come out of that moment.

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"I don’t think we competed well enough, which is really unlike us. I think we’ll learn a lot from that first 45 minutes."

Newcastle will look to bounce back when they travel to Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday before welcoming Wolverhampton Wanderers to St James' Park at the weekend.

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