Sean Longstaff wants Newcastle to go for FA Cup glory after beating Sunderland

By Sports Desk January 07, 2024

Sean Longstaff has challenged Newcastle to mount a charge for FA Cup glory after launching their campaign with a morale-boosting derby victory over Sunderland.

The Magpies went into Saturday’s clash with their arch-rivals having lost seven of their previous eight games in all competitions and knowing the potential for a third-round exit at the hands of lower league opposition for a third successive season was a very real possibility if they were not at their best.

In the event, Eddie Howe’s men eased past the Black Cats with the minimum of fuss, securing a 3-0 victory which rekindled memories among the 6,000 travelling fans at the Stadium of Light of last season’s Carabao Cup final trip to Wembley and increased hope of an end to a 69-year wait for a major domestic trophy.

Asked afterwards about the prospect of an extended run in the competition, midfielder Longstaff told NUFC TV: “We knew going out of the Carabao Cup was really disappointing and if we want to make it a memorable season, it’s a chance to win a trophy and we’ve got to believe that we can do that. I think we’ve got the squad to do it.

“It’s about getting through the first game, so now we’re through and no matter who we get, whether we’re at home or away, we’re going to give it all we’ve got.

“If we can get another trip to Wembley and hopefully put a positive end on it, it would be amazing, but there’s a long way to go before that, so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”

Howe and his players arrived on Wearside knowing their season had reached something of a watershed following last month’s Champions League and Carabao Cup exits and a poor run of form in the Premier League.

They did so without a win over Sunderland, now playing their football in the Sky Bet Championship after a four-season exile in League One, in nine attempts – a run which included six successive defeats – dating back to 2011.

But if there was any anxiety on and off the pitch before kick-off, it was soon dispelled as, aided by an error-strewn display from the hosts, they surged to victory without ever having to find top gear.

They went ahead 10 minutes before the break when defender Dan Ballard, who had moments earlier been fortunate to escape unpunished after hauling down Alexander Isak as he surged into the penalty area, turned Joelinton’s cross into his own net with the Sweden international lurking behind him ready to apply the finishing touch.

Newcastle were effectively home and dry within seconds of the restart when Miguel Almiron mugged Pierre Ekwah on the edge of his own box and squared for Isak to extend the lead, and the £63million striker completed the job with a 90th-minute penalty after a frustrated Ballard had barged Anthony Gordon to the ground.

 

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Sunderland had flickered briefly in the meantime with Alex Pritchard clipping the top of the crossbar and then forcing a good save from Martin Dubravka, but it was all too little, too late.

 

Isak, who swiftly turned his attention to Saturday’s league clash with Manchester City, said: “We just have to get back to our form and start winning games. That’s the main target.

“Hopefully this can be like a turn-around for us because we’ve had bad results before, so we can use this energy to turn things around, and it’s a good way to start against City.”

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    The Premier League club have brought out a new haptic replica shirt which, when worn at matches, will vibrate in response to crowd noises.

    The technology, which utilises microphones placed around the ground, will be used for the first time as the Magpies host Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.

    It is a world first in sport but similar systems have been used successfully in other areas of entertainment, particularly classical music concerts.

    Former Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee, who is an ambassador for the project, told the PA news agency: “It’s very difficult as someone who can hear to imagine what it’s like going to a game when you’re deaf.

    “Football is an experience of sound really. It’s the crowd cheering, singing songs. When I was playing, you’d run out at St James’ Park and the hairs on the back of your neck would stand up.

    “For these guys to be able to experience that through feel is amazing. It’s great technology.”

    The shirts have numerous sensors integrated throughout the garment, with each responding in different ways to the different sounds captured by the microphones.

    The noises are transformed into digital signals by specialised software and then transmitted wirelessly to the shirts, creating a tactile sensory experience for the wearer.

    Newcastle sponsor Sela, the Saudi events company, has been the driving force behind the initiative as part of its “Unsilence the Crowd” campaign.

    To mark the system’s launch, Sela has gifted its sponsorship rights for the Spurs game – including its logo space on the front of the shirt – to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) charity.

    The system will be available at all Newcastle home matches from then onwards.

    Lee, who made 381 appearances for the Magpies between 1992 and 2002, said: “St James’ Park is an amazing stadium. It’s always full, the atmosphere is always electric.

    “Ask any player what’s their favourite ground. I guarantee St James’ will be in the top three because of the atmosphere, because of the sound.

    “If we can get that experience out to the deaf and the hard-of-hearing, then it can only be a good thing.

    “I think it’ll be a showstopper and every club should get it.”

  • Emma Hayes recites poetry in reply to ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall Emma Hayes recites poetry in reply to ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall

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    Eidevall’s Arsenal defeated Hayes’ Chelsea 1-0 earlier this month in the Continental Cup final but the result was overshadowed by a spat between the two managers.

    Hayes took exception to a touchline altercation between Eidevall and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and appeared to push the Arsenal boss after the match.

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    “I think always when you make comments about other persons, you have to take into consideration what effects that may have. That’s why you need to be, especially when you’re a leader, you need to be very good with words.

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    Neither manager offered an apology, with Eidevall saying he was “very happy” with the way he conducted himself, while Hayes described a conversation with her young son about responding to aggression.

    “My son said to me after the game, ‘Mummy, when you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out’,” she told reporters.

    “And I said to him, ‘You know what darling, you can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher’. I thought it was a really good conversation to have with my son.”

    Pressed further, Hayes indicated she regretted her reaction, saying: “I’ve had a fantastic break, I’ve already explained an important analogy that I shared with my son and the lessons learned and my focus is on moving forward and I’ve had time to look at my star.

    “Of course it’s not right to meet aggression with aggression. I can only control my own behaviours.

    “I’ve reflected on that and next time I just need to listen to my son’s advice and I need to go to the teacher if I’ve got anything to say.”

    On Eidevall’s branding of her as “irresponsible”, Hayes said simply: “I don’t have an opinion on it.”

    There appears no prospect of clear-the-air talks between the pair any time soon, with Hayes, who will not face any sanction for the push, adding: “We don’t play Arsenal, we don’t have each other’s telephone numbers, we’d have no reason to do that.

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    Eidevall revealed, meanwhile, that Frida Maanum, who collapsed during the cup final in worrying scenes, could return in next weekend’s match against Leicester.

    “Everything is looking good and that’s the most important thing,” said Eidevall. “She’s on a graduated, monitored protocol now to return to play.

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    The Foxes were charged with breaching the top flight’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) last month in relation to the assessment period ending with the 2022-23 season, when they were still a Premier League club.

    The club issued “urgent legal proceedings” on March 22 against that charge, and against an EFL transfer embargo.

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