HOWE’S YOUR LUCK
Late heartbreak keeps Eddie’s 10-man Toon rock bottom
TEEMU PUKKI’S late equaliser denied Eddie Howe and Newcastle a first league win of the season last night.
Nine minutes into Howe’s home debut, centre back Ciaran Clark was sent off for pulling back Pukki.
Callum Wilson put the 10 men in front on the hour with a penalty, but with 11 minutes left Pukki struck to keep Newcastle bottom of the table.
Afterwards Howe was insistent that his team will break their 14-match winless start if they show the same spirit
and resilience as they did last night, having to play for 81 minutes with 10 men. ‘We had a mountain to climb so early in the game,’ said Howe, who was greeted by a raucous atmosphere at St James’ Park. ‘We could have wallowed and had a victim mentality, but we didn’t. We manned up and responded to the situation. It is a great sign for what lies ahead. ‘The atmosphere is something I would have loved to play in. That reflected in the team’s performance; the fans galvanised the players. ‘I have to cling to what I’ve seen in terms of the spirit and them giving more than they thought they were physically capable of. ‘We’re going to need that in the battle ahead. ‘If we deliver the mentality we showed with 10 men v 11 on a regular basis, we’ll win games, no doubt about that. We know we need wins. Draws aren’t going to be enough. ‘But the players gave their all and I was proud of them. With the quality we have, we will win matches.’
Of Clark’s error, tugging back Pukki with the striker in on goal, Howe added: ‘In the cold light of day, Ciaran would make a different decision. It was probably an impulse that has made him stop the striker. It probably is a red card.’ Norwich boss Dean Smith remains unbeaten in three matches since his arrival. But after seeing his side fail to break down the hosts’ 10 men sooner, he said: ‘I’m disappointed. It was the worst performance out of the three we’ve had. ‘We didn’t show enough quality or move the ball quick enough. We’ve managed to go three unbeaten, but we feel we’ve lost two points here, given the circumstances.’ Smith was not happy with the award of Newcastle’s penalty, given after a VAR review when Federico Fernandez’s header struck the arm of Billy Gilmour inside the six-yard area. ‘We’ve taken all responsibility away from the on-pitch official,’ said Smith. ‘He didn’t feel (the arm position) was unnatural. ‘If it takes him 90 seconds to see whether it’s close enough… it’s pathetic for me.’