‘We are light on numbers but we feel high on quality’: Eddie Howe stands by his team selection after Newcastle were beaten in the FA Cup by Sheffield Wednesday, but admits his side was not ‘clinical enough’
Eddie Howe has defended his team selection and says Newcastle’s finishing cost them dear against Sheffield Wednesday, but admits his squad does not run as deep as he would like.
The Magpies were also beaten at the third-round stage by League One opposition last season. That did not stop Howe making eight changes at Hillsborough and his team duly fell to a 2-1 defeat.
‘We were desperate to win the game and I picked a team I thought was strong enough to do that,’ said the Newcastle boss.
Newcastle were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield Wednesday in their third round FA Cup tie
Eddie Howe stood by his decision to make eight changes as his side is ‘light on numbers’
‘We are aware that we don’t have the deepest squad. We are light on numbers but we feel high on quality. We gave an opportunity to some players who haven’t had a lot of minutes this season, and I thought there were positives and negatives within their performance.
‘We are bitterly disappointed to go out. We created enough chances to win the tie and their goalkeeper made a number of great saves, but we weren’t clinical enough.’
Newcastle were without Allan Saint-Maximin, who pulled out on the eve of the game because of illness, but Howe gave a start to fit-again striker Alexander Isak, who played 45 minutes on his return from a four-month thigh layoff.
Alexander Isak returned from injury for the match and managed to play 45 minutes
Howe said: ‘We have a very small squad and have to protect that for games ahead. The Leicester game [Carabao Cup quarter-final on Tuesday] was on the horizon and we picked a team based with this that game in mind.
‘If that game wasn’t there, the team selection would have possibly been different. We are trying to juggle everything.
‘We haven’t experienced defeat a lot this season and it’s very painful, you don’t want to lose any game. We were determined to do well in this competition but it wasn’t to be, and there’s always things to learn.’