Nuno Espirito Santo is backing striker Chris Wood to fire Nottingham Forest away from Premier League trouble after seeing him plunder a hat-trick to fell former club Newcastle.

The New Zealand international, who left Tyneside for the City Ground this summer having played his part in Newcastle’s top-flight survival fight two seasons ago, scored one goal for the Magpies in 20 appearances at St James’ Park, but trebled that on a memorable afternoon to secure a 3-1 Boxing Day win.

Asked if the 32-year-old could become prolific this season, new head coach Espirito Santo said: “I think so, I really believe so.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nottingham Forest (@officialnffc)

“He did it last week, today he did it again. It’s about the team helping, so it’s not only him, it’s how we want to do things to create chances for him. But I’m very happy with him now.

 

“Chris Wood, we know him, everybody knows him. He’s been in the game for a while now, but the way he did it today, how he scored, how he was in the right moments – the second goal is beautiful, it’s beautiful, the one v one and then the composure to just flick the ball over the goalkeeper, so thank you Chris for the job today.

“I really hope that he does it again because the talent is there.”

Espirito Santo, whose first game in charge on Saturday ended in a 3-2 home defeat by Bournemouth, might have feared the worst when the Magpies took an early lead courtesy of Alexander Isak’s 23rd-minute penalty.

However, they were pegged back in stoppage time after Anthony Elanga crossed for Wood to level from close range, and that proved only the prelude to a disastrous afternoon for the hosts.

Elanga, who tormented full-back Dan Burn throughout, and Morgan Gibbs-White repeatedly split an unusually porous home rearguard, and Wood took full advantage with two more expert finishes after the break to hand his new boss a first win and extend his managerial record against the Magpies to eight games without defeat.

Espirito Santo said: “It feels very good and the boys are very happy. But it was hard and we have to congratulate them because they did fantastic work. I think we played well and it was a well-deserved win.”

Opposite number Eddie Howe, whose side have now lost six of their last seven games in all competitions and slipped out of the Champions League and perhaps even the race for a top-four finish, was reflective after another difficult afternoon.

Howe said: “We weren’t quite at our best today and in the Premier League when you’re not, you get punished.

“Whenever you lose games, that’s an uncomfortable feeling for you; whenever your team is not at its peak, it’s an uncomfortable feeling.

“But we have to remain reflective and we have to make the right decisions for the team in the next few days to make sure we’re ready for our next game.

“I don’t think physically we’re at our best. I think that’s obvious and I think I would be lying if I said otherwise.”

Chris Wood retuned to haunt Newcastle with a stunning hat-trick as Nottingham Forest handed new boss Nuno Espirito Santo the first Premier League victory of his reign.

Wood, the man for whom the Magpies’ new owners paid Burnley £25million in January last year in a bid to stave off relegation, took advantage of woeful defending to plunder a treble which ended his former club’s seven-game winning league run at St James’ Park and condemned them to a sixth defeat in seven games in all competitions.

A 3-1 victory was little more than the visitors deserved on a day when Eddie Howe’s men, who took the lead through a contentious Alexander Isak penalty, were ripped apart by Anthony Elanga and Morgan Gibbs-White in front of a disbelieving crowd of 52,207.

Victory on Tyneside served as a boost to Forest’s survival hopes, but left a huge question mark over Newcastle’s chances of repeating last season’s top-four finish with a trip to Liverpool and Manchester City’s visit to St James’ to come either side of their FA Cup third-round tie against Sunderland.

The Magpies set off determined to provide a response to Saturday’s dismal 1-0 defeat at Luton, and their early pressure paid off after 23 minutes when Isak beat keeper Matt Turner from the penalty spot after defender Murillo had been harshly adjudged to have fouled the striker as he turned on Anthony Gordon’s pass.

Elanga, who tormented full-back Dan Burn throughout, hooked wide from Moussa Niakhate’s long throw, and the former Manchester United winger should have scored 12 minutes before the break when he got in behind Burn down the right, but could not find a way past Martin Dubravka.

Isak saw a cheeky chipped attempt turned over by Turner at his near post and Miguel Almiron skied an effort as he slipped at the end of a slick team move, and the Magpies were made to pay for missed chances in first-half stoppage time.

Almiron won possession on the edge of the visitors’ box, but failed to pick out a team-mate, allowing Gibbs-White to sprint upfield and find Elanga, who handed Wood the simplest of tasks to equalise.

It might have been worse for the hosts within seconds of the restart when Gibbs-White glanced a header wide from Elanga’s dangerous cross with Newcastle looking increasingly vulnerable.

Dubravka was relieved when Elanga fired straight at him after Gibbs-White had once again sparked panic among the home rearguard, but the Sweden international made amends with 53 minutes gone when he slipped the ball into Wood’s path and looked on as the striker turned Burn inside out before lifting a shot over Dubravka and into the net.

Howe swiftly replaced Burn and Almiron with Tino Livramento and Callum Wilson, but his side were undone again on the hour when Murillo’s through-ball split a ragged defence and Wood deftly stepped around the painfully exposed Dubravka to complete his hat-trick.

Isak saw a 67th-minute shot deflected wide and Lewis Miley only just missed the target two minutes later with Howe’s men scrapping for a way back into the game, but meeting both fierce resistance and devastating counter-punching, but the damage was done and there was no way back.

Jamaal Lascelles has played himself into Eddie Howe’s long-term plans at Newcastle after stepping back into the firing line amid an injury crisis.

The 30-year-old defender found himself part of the supporting cast as head coach Howe, armed with the spending power of the club’s new Saudi-backed owners, embarked upon a spending spree which has to date seen them invest around £400million in the squad.

Sven Botman’s £32million arrival from Lille in particular left the Magpies’ club captain largely sitting on the bench, but the injury which saw the Dutchman miss almost three months of football handed the former Nottingham Forest man a chance he grasped with both hands in the final year of his existing contract.

Asked if he wanted Lascelles to stay, Howe said: “I’m sure contract talks with Jamaal… I’m just trying to wrack my brain as to where his contract is at, but I think he is part of our long-term future, for sure.”

Botman’s misfortune struck when he suffered a knee injury in September which sidelined him until he came on as a late substitute in a 3-0 Premier League win over Fulham on December 16.

In his absence, Howe turned to Lascelles and got exactly the response for which he had hoped as he stepped in alongside Fabian Schar and played his part in a Carabao Cup victory over European champions Manchester City and a 4-1 Champions League demolition of Paris St Germain.

In doing so, he demonstrated just how hard he had worked in training to be able to deliver the kind of football Howe demands of his central defenders and produce his best form to date for the club.

Howe said: “Jamaal has done really, really well this season and his game has come on in lots of ways.

“Firstly, defensively, he has always been very strong aerially and you saw that recently against Fulham. His defensive understanding of what we want him to do has been very good from day one.

“His use of the ball has improved, he looks really comfortable in the team at the moment, and he’s playing some really good football.”

However, Lascelles is facing a race against time to face former club Forest on Boxing Day after limping out of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Luton before half-time.

Howe remained coy over his skipper’s injury after the game and he will be assessed with Botman, who replaced him at Kenilworth Road, standing by to start a league fixture for the first time since the 8-0 win at Sheffield United on September 24.

Rob Edwards said Luton’s 1-0 victory against Newcastle was the “embodiment” of their captain Tom Lockyer as his side moved to within two points of Premier League safety.

It was Luton’s first game since Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest during last Saturday’s abandoned game away to Bournemouth.

The 29-year-old’s name was sung around Kenilworth Road throughout the contest, with the club having laid out his strip pre-match in their dressing room in tribute.

Andros Townsend headed the only goal in the first half, stealing in at the back post after Ross Barkley had flicked on a corner from Alfie Doughty and nodding beyond Martin Dubravka to a deafening roar from the home fans.

Newcastle piled on pressure in pursuit of a way back but it was Edwards’ side who came closest to adding to their tally.

First Barkley slammed an effort off the underside of the bar, a rasping 30-yard drive that beat Dubravka at full stretch, before Jacob Brown did the same in the second half after being played through by good work from Elijah Adebayo.

Alexander Isak thought he had equalised, sliding the ball into the far corner past Thomas Kaminski from Miguel Almiron’s pass, only for VAR to judge he had strayed fractionally offside.

Edwards said his team had gone into the game looking to win it for their absent captain, who was discharged from hospital on Thursday.

“I’m immensely proud of everyone,” he said. “This has been a really challenging week. They don’t teach you this on the coaching courses. I’ve needed my team around me.

“The players have been amazing, really brave. We’ve rallied around each other.

“It’s been hard to concentrate on a game of football this week. My focus has been on Tom and has family, but then there’s been a job to do, an important Premier League game. We’ve all helped each other.

“The performance was probably the most complete performances we’ve had this season.

“We’ve been playing really well. I don’t think it’s because of what’s happened that we’ve won the game today.

“We talked about it, we wanted to do it for Tom. But I don’t think there was any extra motivation there. Today we embodied everything that Tom Lockyer is.”

The result puts Luton to within a win of Nottingham Forest who were beaten 3-2 by a last-gasp goal at home to Bournemouth.

Despite an important three points, Edwards’ focus after the game was firmly on Lockyer.

“Today was about doing it for Tom,” he said. “He’s a leader and an inspiration figure for us.

“A football match pales in insignificance in that moment. It still feels a bit weird me coming in here, talking about a game of football.

“When you’re talking about someone’s life, it doesn’t matter then.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe reflected on a disappointing loss which was his team’s fourth in a row away from St James’ Park.

“We’ve spoken about it internally, we know how important away form is,” he said.

“We have to be consistent in home and away form. It epitomised our away form today, we didn’t compete well in the first half. We were reactive instead of proactive.

“We have an incredible group but I was disappointed with the first half, I thought we needed more emotions and energy in our performance.”

Andros Townsend’s first-half goal saw Luton beat Newcastle 1-0 at Kenilworth Road to boost their Premier League survival hopes.

Eddie Howe’s visitors were made to look ordinary by a side tipped widely for the drop.

The winner came during Newcastle’s only spell of sustained first-half pressure as Luton’s star pair of Townsend and Ross Barkley combined at a corner.

The gap to safety now stands at just two points after a third victory on the Hatters’ top-flight return.

Luton had laid out the kit of captain Tom Lockyer in their dressing room, seven days after he suffered a cardiac arrest that forced the abandonment of their game against Bournemouth. The 29-year-old’s name rang around the ground throughout.

The hosts dominated the opening 15 minutes, though the game produced few chances. Jacob Brown stood up Jamaal Lascelles on the left and drilled into the arms of Martin Dubravka, who covered his near post well, while at the other end Callum Wilson nodded wide under pressure after Lewis Miley’s shot was blocked.

Bruno Guimaraes whacked an effort from 18 yards that cracked off the ribs of Gabriel Osho.

Luton failed to clear the resulting corner and Anthony Gordon’s ball back in was met by the head of Wilson, who planted Newcastle’s best chance of the half too near to Thomas Kaminski.

Newcastle were growing into the game until Luton’s opener after 25 minutes against the run of play.

Barkley was brave in getting his head to the ball six yards out as Alfie Doughty’s corner was whipped in, flicking it on to the back post where Townsend had slipped marker Kieran Trippier and nodded past Dubravka. Townsend held aloft the shirt of absent captain Lockyer in tribute.

Luton had led here against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City and taken just a point from those three games, but against a Newcastle side stretched by injuries, belief swept around Kenilworth Road that a big name would finally tumble.

Just after the half-hour mark it was almost two. Barkley, fresh from his hand in the goal, received the ball in space 30 yards from goal and tried his luck.

His effort flew over the goalkeeper before hammering back off the underside of the bar as home fans decried their luck.

Howe had seen enough. Eight minutes from the end of the half he gambled on two changes, Miley and Lascelles departing for Alexander Isak and Sven Botman.

It yielded little respite for this side. Within minutes Doughty had wrestled past Trippier into the box, Newcastle failed to clear as the ball broke loose, and Townsend was left free to test Dubravka with a firm effort.

The second half began in the same vein, Newcastle increasingly unsure of themselves in countering Luton’s threat. Adebayo was strong on the edge of the box to keep the ball and slide in Brown who rattled the bar with a rasping drive as the visitors clung on.

Newcastle finally rallied a response, and Gordon might have done better when he poked into the side netting from Trippier’s inviting cross. Isak thought he had levelled, bending the ball into the net but denied by the offside flag having moved early from Miguel Almiron’s pass.

Thereafter Newcastle bombarded Luton’s defence, which would not yield as the hosts put bodies on the line in a manner to make their captain proud.

Luton manager Rob Edwards said he will have a special bond with Bournemouth after their staff and supporters’ reaction to Tom Lockyer’s cardiac arrest.

Hatters skipper Lockyer collapsed at the Vitality Stadium last week and has since been discharged from hospital following a successful procedure to fit an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Edwards lauded the medical staff from both clubs and the ambulance service who were on hand to give Lockyer treatment.

Speaking ahead of Luton’s home Premier League clash with Newcastle on Saturday, Edwards said: “The supporters showed respect.

“I will have a special bond with that football club (Bournemouth) going forward now. The way they were singing Tom’s name as well, that will last with me for a long time. It was emotional.

“I’m so proud of our medical staff, Bournemouth’s medics and the paramedics there as well. They saved him and made every decision bang on. They did an incredible job, they’re heroes.

“I want to say thank you to everyone at Bournemouth football club. The players, the staff and those who were there. A special mention to Philip Billing who reacted especially quickly and David Brooks who comforted Tom at the hospital.”

Lockyer also collapsed during the Championship play-off final against Coventry in May.

Edwards said that the “inspirational” defender is taking “baby steps” in his recovery and did not offer an answer regarding the player’s future in the sport.

He added: “We’ve been in regular contact. He’s recovering, it’s baby steps now. Anyone will miss him. He’s a leader, he’s an inspirational figure for all of us.

“It’s been difficult and I won’t be able to articulate all the feelings I had at the time. The initial feeling is that I sensed something was different to May.

“It’s too early to tell (on Lockyer’s playing career). Going forward it’s about Tom recovering. He’s had an operation and then we’ll see going forward what that means.”

Saturday’s opponents Newcastle conceded late on at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup before they crashed out on penalties.

And Edwards sympathises with Eddie Howe and offered a reminder on Newcastle’s quality ahead of their clash at Kenilworth Road.

Edwards said: “Of course I can sympathise with them. It’s horrible to concede late on and they will be disappointed.

“They bring energy, quality, a real clear way of playing and I have huge respect for Howe. What he’s done at Newcastle is really impressive and I like the way he handles himself.”

Eddie Howe will not put a target on Newcastle’s back as they attempt to continue their progress.

In the space of seven days this month, the club has gone out of the Champions League and the Carabao Cup to leave themselves fighting on just two fronts as the turn of the year approaches.

That has led to suggestions from outside the city that the Magpies are in serious danger of under-achieving this season and, in some quarters, that head coach Howe’s job could be under threat.

Howe said: “My discussions with everyone connected with the football club here and the running of the football club, there’s never been that pressure of this season or next season in terms of positions in the league and expectations to win competitions. That’s all come from us internally.

“Of course, there’s an ambition, but there’s a difference, I think, between an ambition and a target that’s on your back.

“Everyone here wants to see growth. They want to see growth in the team, they want to see improvement and of course then longer term, those thoughts, I’m sure, will change to tangible targets and to set things that we have to do.

“But at this moment in time, we started from such a low base that we’re just trying to build and we’ve built really quickly.

“For my mind, we want to increase that speed, everything has to come tomorrow, but there needs to be a realisation of where we’re at also.”

Howe has been in post on Tyneside since November 2021 having been handed the reins by the club’s Saudi-backed owners just weeks after they completed their takeover.

He first steered Newcastle to top-flight safety and then last season into the top four, in the process cementing his standing with the new regime and endearing himself to supporters who crave success.

In doing so, he freely acknowledged that they had accomplished one of their targets significantly earlier than planned and, while the last thing he wants to do is limit expectation, is aware of the need for perspective.

Howe added ahead of Saturday’s trip to Luton: “I believe that we can achieve great things. I believe in the squad, I believe in the characters within the squad, so I’ve got a delicate balance.

“But then externally, I don’t want to put pressure on the players.

“I want them to play in a really good environment, I want them to be able to express themselves and then internally at the club, we then need a realisation that we’re still building, we’re still very early in the journey.”

Howe will make late decisions on Sven Botman, Fabian Schar, Emil Krafth, Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak ahead of a game which will be played against the backdrop of an outpouring of emotion for Hatters skipper Tom Lockyer, who is recovering after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Bournemouth last weekend.

Howe said: “Tom himself is the most important thing, his family. It really puts football into perspective.

“His health is paramount. Of course it’s the second time it’s happened and we want to send him our best wishes from everyone connected with Newcastle.”

Armando Broja believes Chelsea dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Newcastle in the Carabao Cup shows the strong bond the new-look team are building.

Broja revealed he was set to be Chelsea’s fifth penalty taker, but he was not called upon as Djordje Petrovic’s save from Matt Ritchie’s spot-kick sent Mauricio Pochettino’s men into the semi-finals.

Mykhailo Mudryk capitalised on Kieran Trippier’s mistake to equalise for the Blues in added time, cancelling out Callum Wilson’s opener, before the hosts held their nerve in the shoot-out.

Striker Broja said: “I was (going to take the fifth penalty) and I was quite excited actually.

“But Petrovic put on an unbelievable display, so it didn’t quite get to me.”

Tenth-placed Chelsea head to Wolves in the Premier League on Christmas Eve, with Tuesday night’s win offering a welcome boost after a difficult first half of the season under Pochettino.

And Albanian international Broja feels the manner of the victory is evidence of the character of the side.

“Games like this show our spirit and the bond where we dug deep,” he said.

“We got the equaliser even though it was in the 92nd minute and we got to penalties.

“We’re a new team, with a new manager and everyone’s trying to gel together.

“It’s not going to be easy straightaway because we have a whole bunch of new players, so we need to get that rhythm and get that bond together. It’s not going to happen overnight and people need to understand that.

“We keep playing for the badge.”

Victory in the Carabao Cup would give Chelsea their first piece of silverware since they lifted the Club World Cup in February last year.

Broja added: “This is a chance for us to win and trophy and we want to win a trophy, that’s what this trophy is all about.”

What the papers say

Suitors of Brentford’s in-demand striker Ivan Toney have reportedly been warned they will need to pay at least £100,000,000 for his services. The Sun, citing Talksport, says the Bees would want a nine-figure fee for the 27-year-old. Arsenal and Chelsea are both believed to be considering a move for Toney, who returns from a betting ban next month.

The Manchester Evening News reports Preston are interested in a loan move for Manchester United midfielder Dan Gore. Despite the 19-year-old only making one appearance for the first team, North End bosses are interested in bringing him in to help the club chase a play-off place.

Tottenham are monitoring Genoa centre-back Radu Dragusin, according to The Telegraph. The 21-year-old is expected to cost £26m, should he move in the January transfer window.

And the paper also says Newcastle have opened talks with 17-year-old midfielder Lewis Miley over signing a long-term deal once he turns 18.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Sergio Reguilon: Bild reports the Tottenham defender – on loan at Manchester United – is wanted by Borussia Dortmund.

Mauro Icardi: Real Madrid are set to make a move for the Galatasaray striker, according to Marca.

Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea are a “healthy group” after watching them edge beyond Newcastle on penalties at Stamford Bridge to book a place in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Newcastle looked to have done enough to progress after holding Chelsea at arm’s length for much of the game following Callum’s Wilson’s first-half strike.

Then at the death, Mykhailo Mudryk appeared inside the box to nick the ball away from Kieran Trippier, clipping a finish inside the far post to rescue Pochettino’s side.

Chelsea were on target with all four spot-kicks as Trippier again was culpable for Newcastle, failing to hit the target before Matt Ritchie saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

Earlier, Wilson had given Newcastle a deserved lead, taking advantage of a calamitous mix-up between Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile and racing clear to score on the counter.

“To concede the way we conceded, when we didn’t deserve to, it can affect any team,” said the manager.

“But we reacted really well, dominated the game against a good team like Newcastle, kept pushing in the second half, made some changes and tried to provide the team some impact.

“The most important (thing) in football is to believe to the end. We kept believing. We know penalties are a lottery, but of course talent and quality (matter). Our objective before the game was to go through and now we’re in the semi-final.

“When you see the whole squad, players that weren’t involved or were injured, they wanted to share their happiness in the middle of the pitch. We’re a healthy group of players, but they need time. We create the platform for them to improve every day. We’re going to build a very good team that can compete.”

Pochettino gave a long-awaited debut from the bench to summer signing Christopher Nkunku after injury with 20 minutes to go, in place of the willing but largely ineffective Nicolas Jackson.

The manager reiterated the need not to lump too much expectation too soon on the 26-year-old’s shoulders after a lengthy spell out.

“We’re talking about players that are young, or who have arrived and suffered an injury, like Christopher,” he said. “They need game time to start to perform and to get their best form. Everyone can judge.

“The expectation is to see the best of Nkunku, but we need time for him to perform the way we expect. It’s one thing to be available, it’s another to perform in the way we expect.”

Pochettino confirmed Enzo Fernandez had been withdrawn in the first half suffering from stomach sickness while Levi Colwill, taken off at the break, was tired but not injured.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe reflected on a missed opportunity for his team to reach the Carabao Cup last four for the second straight season.

“A tough ending to the game,” he said. “It was a really good away performance until the last moments. I didn’t see a goal coming at that stage.

“It’s just one of those things that can happen in a football match. We covered space well, limited them to half-chances. There are a lot of positives to take but we don’t feel that right now.”

Chelsea booked their passage to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup on penalties after Mykhailo Mudryk’s stoppage-time equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

Mudryk slotted home after a mistake from Kieran Trippier just as Eddie Howe’s side looked to have done enough to ease past the hosts, who struggled to create for much of the game.

Earlier, Callum Wilson had given the visitors a first-half lead on the counter-attack.

But as the game went to spot-kicks, Trippier again was culpable, firing wide from 12 yards before Matt Ritchie saw the critical kick saved by goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to see Chelsea through.

Mauricio Pochettino pledged to keep open a path to the Chelsea first team for academy graduates who prove themselves good enough.

The manager has given debuts this season to six players aged 20 and under, including defender Levi Colwill who has become an England international after featuring in all but one of Pochettino’s games in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Alex Matos, the 19-year-old forward signed from Norwich in the summer, was an unused substitute during Saturday’s 2-0 win against Sheffield United having made his Premier League debut in October against Fulham.

There have also been Chelsea bows for academy graduate Bashir Humphreys, 20, the 18-year-old Brazilian striker Deivid Washington, 19-year-old defender Diego Moreira and Mason Burstow, the 20-year-old forward signed from Charlton in 2022.

With a long injury list that continues to limit Pochettino’s options, the depth of the first-team squad has been tested despite a colossal £1billion outlay on recruitment during the last 18 months.

The manager singled out Matos in particular for praise, and emphasised the need to keep young players at the club believing that their path to the senior team will not be blocked by established signings.

“His (Matos) personality, his character is always so focused,” said Pochettino. “Of course he’s talented with potential. He’s really impressed me with his focus in everything. He’s so smart, watching always everything, always smiling.

“To compete with the first-team players is tough. But he’s really competitive, he’s really strong. He’ll kick you and smile at you.

“It’s nice to have this type of profile. I’m happy with him. There’s some massive talent in the academy in all the different teams.

“After four, five months we’ve had possibility to assess them all, and I think we have many young, talented players that, with time and given the possibility, can reach the level of Chelsea.”

Pochettino’s side host Newcastle in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday as the club hunts a first trophy since winning the Champions League in 2021 under former boss Thomas Tuchel.

The manager, who is himself yet to win silverware during his time in England having lost the final of this competition to Chelsea in 2015 when he was Tottenham boss, emphasised the importance of the game and intimated there would not be wholesale changes from the win against the Blades.

Nevertheless, youth development remains a pillar of his philosophy as he continues his rebuild of the west London side.

“The challenge is also to improve the young players that have arrived, like Romeo Lavia or Deivid Washington,” he said. “But also the players coming through the academy, we care a lot about that. We love the work that they are doing there in the academy.

“The talent is there, now we need to create the capacity. They need to believe that they can reach the first team. It’s not only about signing young players. It’s about academy players having the opportunity if they deserve to be involved.”

Head coach Eddie Howe saluted teenager Lewis Miley after he set Newcastle on the way to a 3-0 victory over 10-man Fulham by becoming the club’s youngest Premier League goalscorer.

The 17-year-old midfielder, who had been introduced as a first-half replacement for the injured Joelinton, ended the visitors’ stubborn resistance with a 57th-minute opener at the age of 17 years and 229 days and paved the way for Miguel Almiron and Dan Burn to wrap up the win.

Howe said: “I’m delighted for him. Today was his moment, put in by Bruno’s [Guimaraes] brilliant run and did he have the composure in front of the Gallowgate to score a massive goal in our season? He did and I’m delighted for him.

“We tried to manage his minutes today and give him a little rest but it didn’t turn out that way.”

Miley’s maiden goal could hardly have been better timed with Newcastle labouring in their attempts to break down a Fulham outfit who had circled the wagons in the wake of Raul Jimenez’s 22nd-minute dismissal for a wild challenge on Sean Longstaff.

Almiron doubled the dose within seven minutes before Burn added a third as time ran down to clinch a seventh successive league win at St James’ Park and salve some of the disappointment of Wednesday night’s Champions League exit.

Howe, who also saw defender Fabian Schar limp off before half-time, said: “It was always going to be, even with 11 v 10.

“Today was never going to be free-flowing, buccaneering, entertaining football because of so many different reasons, the injuries we’ve got, what happened in midweek, the emotion we expended there.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Newcastle United FC (@nufc)

 

“The big challenge for us was were we able to recover mentally and lift ourselves to win a really tricky game and I can’t credit the players enough for how they’ve handled today.

“Added to that fact, we lost two massive players as well during the first half so even more reason really to celebrate the players that were on the pitch today and how well they did.”

The Magpies will now start preparations for Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final trip to Chelsea with doubts over Schar and Joelinton, who are nursing muscle injuries.

Fulham boss Marco Silva left Tyneside unimpressed with referee Sam Barrott, who issued a red card to Jimenez following a VAR review minutes after he had himself been caught by Jamaal Lascelles’ arm.

Silva said: “It is a clear foul on Raul but in the opinion of the referee it was not a foul. After the elbow, Raul has to be much more calm, do not go to challenge in that way.

“The ball was not there to challenge – although the way he jumped in at the player, it was not a serious challenge for me.

“Two minutes before, the same VAR didn’t even check the elbow. Everything was strange in terms of the decisions.

“Newcastle are a very good side but before the match I really thought this was a good moment to come and match them and fight them.

“But at the same time, you have to come with a referee with the right experience and ability to be able to handle the pressure. In my opinion, this afternoon, that was not the situation.”

Seventeen-year-old Lewis Miley’s first senior goal set Newcastle on their way to a seventh successive Premier League win at St James’ Park as they beat 10-man Fulham 3-0.

The midfielder, thrust into the action as a first-half substitute after Fabian Schar and Joelinton had been added to head coach Eddie Howe’s lengthy casualty list, fired the Magpies into a 57th-minute lead and saw Miguel Almiron and Dan Burn follow suit to clinch a hard-fought victory.

Fulham, who had striker Raul Jimenez sent off with just 22 minutes gone after needlessly careering into and flooring midfielder Sean Longstaff, frustrated the hosts for long periods but eventually succumbed in front of a crowd of 52,035.

Howe had insisted in advance there could be no hangover from Wednesday night’s Champions League exit and his players set about their task with relish in a bid to end a run of three consecutive defeats.

In the absence of the suspended Kieran Trippier, defender Schar took charge at a fifth-minute free-kick and after tapping the ball short to Anthony Gordon, he whipped a curling shot just wide of Bernd Leno’s left post.

However, the visitors, who had scored five without reply in each of their last two matches, had arrived intent on taking advantage of any weariness among the black and white ranks and repeatedly stretched the home defence on the counter.

Bruno Guimaraes fired high over from Gordon’s 17th-minute pull-back after Jamaal Lascelles had muscled Jimenez off the the ball with the striker needing treatment after being caught by a flailing arm.

The frontman was even more aggrieved five minutes later when, after referee Sam Barrott had been invited to review his ugly challenge on Longstaff, the official upgraded the yellow card he had originally awarded to a red.

Newcastle came desperately close to the opening goal on the half-hour when Gordon controlled substitute Emil Krafth’s cross and smashed a left-foot shot against the underside of the bar before Callum Wilson headed straight at Leno from Gordon’s cross.

Burn then did just enough to put Alex Iwobi off as he shot having run on to Joelinton’s loose pass with Martin Dubravka having earlier fielded Joao Palhinha’s long-range attempt.

Leno denied Longstaff after he had run on to Tino Livramento’s through ball and the half-time whistle arrived with the sides still locked together.

Guimaraes drilled a speculative effort straight at Leno as the home side resumed on the front foot but lacking the necessary invention or precision to fashion genuine opportunities until Gordon sent Leno full-stretch from Wilson’s lay-off seconds before Miley tested him with a rising drive.

However, it was the academy graduate who finally made the breakthrough with 57 minutes gone when, after Guimaraes had driven into the penalty area, he fired low across Leno and inside the far post.

The second goal arrived within seven minutes when Gordon’s through ball evaded Wilson and defender Antonee Robinson and fell nicely for Almiron to slot into an empty net.

It was three with eight minutes remaining, Burn bundling home at the far post after Leno had repelled his initial header.

Eddie Howe will look back on his first Champions League campaign and agonise over the “if only” moments which cost Newcastle a place in the last 16.

The 46-year-old head coach steered the Magpies to within touching distance of the knockout stage only for their qualification hopes to be dashed by Wednesday night’s 2-1 home defeat by AC Milan, during which they were in pole position to progress when they led 1-0.

Instead of looking forward to the draw for the next round, Howe is instead preparing his injury-hit squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Fulham, with the controversial penalty decision which cost them victory at Paris St Germain and their failure to deal with the set-piece which led to Milan’s equaliser prominent in his thoughts.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by UEFA Champions League (@championsleague)

 

He said: “We were so close, so, so close while being really stretched with our resources, and that’s why I have to compliment the players on what they’ve given.

“It could have been very different and I just think we should take confidence from the fact that the hardest group, we were so close to achieving it.”

Newcastle secured a Champions League berth for the first time in 20 years courtesy of their fourth-place finish last season, an achievement which arrived barely 18 months into the tenure of their Saudi-backed owners and significantly ahead of schedule.

Asked if he had spoken to the ownership group and what had been said in the wake of Wednesday night’s disappointment, Howe replied: “ I think they see the work that goes on behind closed doors and they have close relationships with the players. We are like a family, we’re very close.

“That’s not just me with them, it’s everybody connected with the club. There’s just that feeling that they’re very supportive of the players and understanding of how much they’ve given. They can see the efforts on the pitch, and I think that’s the most important thing.

“That’s why I have no regrets over what the players have given over this Champions League campaign. I might have regrets over a couple of other things, but not at all over what the players have given. That’s always the biggest judgement for me.

“If you’re looking at it analytically, the players did incredibly well last year to finish where they did. It was miles ahead of schedule because, in pre-season, no one was talking about top four or Champions League football.

“You have to give the players a lot of credit, so what you can’t then do is give them a lot of credit and then hammer them at the same time because we couldn’t then follow that up.”

Howe did, however, admit that the exit from Europe could have financial implications for his January transfer budget.

He said: “Of course, going out of Europe will have repercussions financially for us because we’re going to lose revenue on games that we could have had, but that’s all been budgeted for and we’ll see where we stand.”

Influential full-back Kieran Trippier will miss Saturday’s game through suspension, while midfielder Joe Willock and striker Harvey Barnes, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a toe injury, are unlikely to figure before the turn of the year.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.