Why Joelinton and Matt Targett were left out of Newcastle United’s starting XI at Fulham

Newcastle United fans were surprised to hear of Joelinton and Matt Targett’s place on the bench.

Eddie Howe has revealed why he left Joelinton and Matt Targett out of his Newcastle United starting XI at Fulham.

The Magpies head coach named four changes to his line-up at Craven Cottage, with both Joelinton and Targett surprisngly named on the bench.

United won without the pair following goals from Callum Wilson, Sean Longstaff and a brace by Miguel Almiron.

“Joelinton picked up a knee injury against Bournemouth and hadn’t trained,” Howe explained. “He wanted to be involved because of the type of character he is.

Newcastle United midfielder Joelinton. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

“I wanted to try and protect him but I know how important he is so he was there if we needed him in an absolute emergency.

“Our hand was forced with him. Hopefully, a full week’s training will make the difference for him and he’ll be back next week.

“Matt Targett has been ill, so we decided not to risk him.

“That’s why I said in the press conference yesterday it has been a difficult few weeks. It’s not just injuries but illness running through the team as well.

(I’m) delighted to come here and win off the back of that.”

Ryan Fraser was dropped in place of Jacob Murphy and Wilson’s return was well-timed after Alexander Isak’s injury.

Howe praised Murphy for his display on what was his first of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign.

“Murphy, in different positions, played very well today. I thought he was electric.

“Joe Willock, yeah he was unlucky not to score but I thought he was behind a lot of our good play.

“(I’m) delighted with both of them.”