The official reason why Sven Botman misses Newcastle United's FA Cup tie v Blackburn Rovers

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The official reason why Sven Botman missed Newcastle United's FA Cup fifth round clash v Blackburn Rovers.

Newcastle United were without Sven Botman for their FA Cup fifth round clash away to Blackburn Rovers.

The Dutchman had started the previous 10 matches after returning from a serious knee injury in December but wasn't included in the squad for the visit to Ewood Park.

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It's understood Newcastle have opted to rest Botman. Eddie Howe's side are next in action when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday.

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Howe defended Botman after he was criticised for his performance during Saturday night's 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Botman's own goal opened the scoring at the Emirates before a misplaced pass led to the Gunners making it 3-0. He was replaced by Jamaal Lascelles on 72 minutes in what Magpies legend Alan Shearer described as his worst performance in a Newcastle shirt.

The 24-year-old had been sidelined for three months following a knee injury he sustained in September but returned to action in December. His performance have been mixed since then, but Howe says the centre-back needs time to reach his best levels.

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Howe said: “Sven had a very serious knee and he’s come back to fitness. I think he’s improved with each game but I think he is still working his way back to his very best levels.

"With his knee injury, it’s something we’re monitoring and we hope that he continues to not feel his knee and his knee is able to adapt to Premier League football. Certainly, as I say, it was a very significant injury. 

"To play Premier League football you have to be in peak condition, you can’t get away with playing the game if you’re not. He’s fit to play, he’s done the work but as I said, it was a significant injury. Hopefully within a few more weeks he’ll be back to his very best levels."

After facing further questions on Botman's form, Howe replied: “For me, there should be no focus on Sven, the focus needs to be on the team to perform better than it did. There is no one individual that let us down.

"Myself included weren’t at our best against Arsenal and when you’re not at your best against the very best sides in the division you get punished, and that’s what happened."

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