Newcastle and Manchester United’s early exits from Europe could contribute to an English club missing out on a fifth place in next season’s Champions League.

Here, the PA news agency seeks to explain why.

What is this all about?

In May 2022 UEFA signed off on the format for the new-look Champions League, which will feature a 36-team league phase from next season instead of the 32-team group phase we have all got used to.

Initially it had been proposed that the two clubs with the highest individual coefficient score – based on their historic European performance – who had missed out on Champions League qualification via the conventional route would still gain entry to the new league phase, provided they had done enough to qualify for one of the other two UEFA club competitions.

That proposal was controversial because it could have meant teams ‘leapfrogging’ into the Champions League over clubs with a lesser European pedigree.

Instead, a decision was ultimately taken to award the places to one club from each of the two countries who collectively perform best in the previous season’s three UEFA competitions.

How do they work that out?

Each time a club wins a game in Europe, they get two points in the coefficient rankings, one for a draw and none for a defeat. Bonus points are also awarded for the progress a team makes in the competition they are involved in, with extra weighting given to the Champions League in that respect.

A country score is then calculated by adding together each clubs’ score and dividing it by the number of clubs from that country playing in European competition.

Newcastle and Manchester United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last 16 saw them miss out on a collective 10 coefficient points, plus any additional points for further wins and progress in that competition. They could also have gained extra points via progress and results in the Europa League.

How do the standings currently look?

Germany and Italy currently hold the top two positions, which would mean the one club in each of those countries who came closest to qualifying for the Champions League via the conventional route would benefit.

England could still get one of the top two places if the Premier League clubs left in Europe perform extremely well, but the failure of two of England’s four representatives to make the Champions League last 16 – or even to drop into the Europa League – makes it more of an uphill struggle.

In four out of the previous five seasons, England finished in the top two.

Eddie Howe has challenged his Newcastle players to book themselves another crack at the Champions League after seeing them slip out of Europe in dramatic fashion.

At one point on Wednesday evening, the Magpies were heading for the last 16 of European football’s premier club competition, but they ended it empty-handed after AC Milan came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win at St James’ Park.

That booked them a Europa League berth and ended Newcastle’s continental involvement for the season, but a disappointed Howe is targeting a swift return.

He said: “I’d love the opportunity to do that again and I think that has to be our focus very quickly. I don’t think we can look at anything other than that.

“We want to be there again and we’re still close enough in the Premier League to do that and compete. All these things happen for a reason, I’m a believer in that.

“The ambition is there, of course. It’s there from all of us – but doesn’t mean it’ll happen. We have to make that happen.

“Any time you don’t achieve what you want, you have a setback, you have a disappointment, you have to use it as fuel and that’s very much has always been my way.

“The pain that you feel now is motivation for tomorrow. We now have to focus on the Premier League and have to try to make sure we get our form in the Premier League as strong as we can.”

The defeat by Milan – the Magpies’ third on the trot in all competitions – came courtesy of goals from Christian Pulisic and substitute Samuel Chukwueze after Joelinton had blasted them ahead.

They will resume domestic action against Fulham on Saturday sitting in seventh place in the table, seven points adrift of Manchester City in fourth.

While their domestic home for has been excellent, Newcastle have won only once on the road and with their injury problems starting to abate – Callum Wilson, Sean Longstaff and Dan Burn were all involved against the Italians – Howe is calling for a fresh focus.

He said: “I don’t want a hangover from this. We have to learn from it and quickly put it away.

“The players need to believe how good they can be, how good we are and this is a good test of that for us because of what’s happened in the last week.

“Football is an amazing thing, isn’t it? You go back 10 days and we had just beaten Manchester United with our best performance of the season. Then three games later, we’ve had three defeats.

“That’s football.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe defended his players after a Europa League place slipped from their grasp as they tried to secure a Champions League berth.

The Magpies were dumped out of Europe all together as a result of their 2-1 home defeat by AC Milan on a night when they had one foot in the last 16 of the premier competition, then looked destined for the lesser only to end up empty-handed.

Had the game finished 1-1, Howe’s men would have taken the group’s Europa League spot with Paris St Germain having secured second place behind group winners Borussia Dortmund after a 1-1 draw in Germany, but substitute Samuel Chukwueze’s late strike ensured it was the Serie A side who claimed it instead.

Asked if they might have played for a draw as time ran down, Howe said: “We wanted to qualify for the Champions League for sure. That was very much our intention before the game and in-game.

“I’m not sure in that moment you can take that will away from the players. If you look at the goals we’ve conceded, they’ve come from mistakes that can happen in any moment whether you are being proactive or reactive.

“Of course I take ownership of that, but I’d much rather have the intention to go and attack and to try to win rather than the other way round.”

Joelinton’s 33rd-minute piledriver had put Newcastle in the driving seat and their position improved further when Dortmund went ahead, but PSG levelled minutes later and crucially, so did the Italians through Christian Pulisic.

Goalkeeper Mike Maignan managed to turn a goal-bound Bruno Guimaraes shot on to his crossbar as the Premier League side sought the victory which would have kept them in the competition, but Chukwueze’s late intervention amid a chaotic conclusion proved decisive.

Howe said: “We’re desperately disappointed. It’s tough to take at the moment. The lads played very well in that first half and I thought we were good value.

“I was hoping the goal would come earlier than it did. Second half, we wanted to try to consolidate that and look for the second goal.

“I was really disappointed with the first goal we conceded because I think that is the key moment. We didn’t deal with a second-phase set-play well enough – it was an uncharacteristic goal, really, for us to concede and then the game became very transitional.

“It was end-to-end from both teams, both teams looking to win, and we conceded on one of those transitions.”

For opposite number Stefano Pioli, who headed into the game at St James’ Park under pressure and with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic having been drafted in as a senior adviser, there were mixed feelings.

Pioli said: “We definitely wanted to continue our path in the Champions League and that is very difficult. It was a bittersweet evening.

“What we could do this evening we did. Of course we’re disappointed about the Champions League and we regret it. Clearly we’re disappointed, but we also have the conviction that we’re a team that can do well.”

Samuel Chukwueze came off the bench to end Newcastle’s Champions League adventure as AC Milan fought back from a goal down to win at St James’ Park.

On a night when both sides needed to win to stand any chance of progressing, goals from Christian Pulisic and Chukwueze handed the Serie A side a 2-1 victory which was not enough to prolong their involvement in the competition following a 1-1 draw between Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain in Germany.

Seven-time winners Milan at least have the consolation of a Europa League berth while Eddie Howe’s men, who took a 33rd-minute lead through Joelinton’s piledriver in front of a crowd of 52,037, slipped out of Europe all together after finishing bottom of Group F in their first campaign since 2002-03.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka shook off a bout of illness which had threatened his participation to retain his place in the team with striker Callum Wilson making his first start since damaging a hamstring during the 2-0 defeat at Dortmund on November 7.

Such have been head coach Howe’s selection problems that only four of the men who started the reverse fixture in September – Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Bruno Guimaraes and Anthony Gordon – did so on Tyneside.

St James’ reverberated as an expectant home crowd played its part, and Gordon’s early challenge on full-back Davide Calabria was cheered almost as appreciatively as a goal on a night when the stakes could hardly have been higher.

Trippier curled a sixth-minute free-kick over Mike Maignan’s crossbar after Pulisic had bundled Gordon to the ground as the Magpies maintained their early intensity, although the visitors with experienced striker Olivier Giroud providing a focal point, gradually eased their way into the game.

For all their dominance, Newcastle were struggling to create meaningful chances and Schar’s speculative 18th-minute strike from distance, which sailed high over Maignan’s crossbar, had a touch of impatience about it.

However, Fikayo Tomori had to make a superbly-timed intervention on his own line to prevent Miguel Almiron from converting Joelinton’s cross two minutes later.

Rafael Leao whipped a shot wide of Dubravka’s left post after Yunus Musah had surged deep into enemy territory to feed him as the visitors responded, but Maignan had to pluck Almiron’s goal-bound header from under his crossbar after he had met Joelinton’s inviting cross.

But it was the Brazilian who broke the deadlock when he ran on to Lewis Miley’s lay-off and smashed a right-footed shot past the helpless Maignan and into the top corner before sprinting to the sideline to celebrate with Howe and assistant Jason Tindall as the stadium erupted.

The game descended into a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to retain possession as the half-time whistle approached, and it was the Magpies who ultimately headed for the dressing rooms much the happier.

Wilson picked out the keeper with two attempts and Gordon fired over from another with Newcastle looking to kill the game off as news that Dortmund had scored rippled around the stadium.

PSG’s equaliser minutes later did little to quell the atmosphere, but spirits dropped with 59 minutes gone when the home defence failed to deal with Leao’s left-wing cross and Giroud teed up former Chelsea midfielder Pulisic to level from close range.

A much-improved Milan were causing significantly more problems with Leao in particular a persistent threat, but substitute Alexander Isak sent a dipping shot over with 23 minutes remaining and Maignan had to make a superb save to tip Guimaraes’ drive on to his crossbar two minutes later.

The woodwork came to Newcastle’s rescue 11 minutes from time when Leao’s shot came back off the post after Tino Livramento’s error had sparked a pacy counter-attack, but there was no escape five minutes later when Noah Okafor and Luka Jovic combined to set up fellow substitute Chukwueze to win it.

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has insisted he had no idea Sandro Tonali had a gambling problem before he was sold to Champions League opponents Newcastle.

The 23-year-old Italy international joined the Magpies in a £55million summer switch from Milan and played in a 0-0 draw against his former club in their Champions League Group F opener at San Siro in September.

However, he is now serving a 10-month ban for breaches of betting regulations during his time in Italy, robbing the Tyneside club of a key man for the remainder of this season.

Asked if he knew about Tonali’s problem when he was sold, Pioli said at his press conference at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening: “No, I didn’t know anything about Sandro’s problem.

“He was very polite, respected and respectful to others, he was a very sensible boy.

“Even if I feel I have an open relationship with the players, I only talk to them about football. What they do outside, I don’t know everything about them.”

Asked further if he backed the player to get through his current difficulties, Pioli added: “Absolutely, yes. His football quality and tactical quality, technical, physical quality, there’s no doubt about him. He’s a great player.

“We’re close to Sandro. When he was with us, he was a really cheerful, positive young man, close to the team, popular, very important to the team’s rise, applied himself, worked hard, very willing to help the team.

“Unfortunately, he fell into a delicate situation. We’re with him, we’re close to him and we hope this experience will teach him and help him be better in the future.”

Tonali’s suspension came just 12 games into his Newcastle career, but Pioli is confident the Premier League club will reap the rewards of their investment.

He said: “At the moment they signed him, it was a good deal, they signed a very good player. Then what happened afterwards, no-one could have expected it.”

If Tonali’s departure left a significant gap in Milan, another was plugged this week when it was announced that former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had returned to the club as a “senior adviser”.

Asked for his reaction, Pioli said: “Zlatan is taking the next step of his career. He’s always been a top character, a top player. He’s faced every challenge with determination, with intelligence and this is a new challenge for him and he’ll show the same personality, the same characteristics to do everything to help the club.”

Both sides head into Wednesday night’s game able to finish second, third or fourth in the group, but neither have their fate in their own hands with victory a must if they are to stand any chance of making the last 16.

Pioli said: “We’ve got one objective, we’ve only got one chance – win the match.

“I know the team will do everything they can to win the game. I know what’s awaiting us, I know what kind of team they are, I know what kind of stadium it is, but our team will do everything we can to come through this big, big challenge.”

Eddie Howe is dreaming of a “magical European night” as Newcastle attempt to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Head coach Howe will go into Wednesday night’s must-win clash with AC Milan at St James’ Park with back-up keeper Martin Dubravka having emerged as yet another selection doubt, but knowing that a win over the Serie A giants could be enough for the Magpies to extend their stay at Europe’s top table.

While injury-plagued Newcastle’s fate it not in their own hands – even victory would mean they would slip into the Europa League should Paris St Germain win at Borussia Dortmund, while defeat would see them finish bottom of Group F – the man who guided them into the competition for the first time in 20 years is allowing himself to hope.

 

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Asked how much he had enjoyed the competition, Howe said: “I’ve really enjoyed the Champions League. My only frustration is that we have not had the freedom to attack the competition as we would have liked to have done (because of injuries).

“That’s my only feeling that I’m left with that is negative.

“The tournament itself is special, the places we have been are incredible, the stadiums, the atmospheres and the experiences we have had at home have all been memorable.

“We have one more game to go and we have to make this as memorable as possible.

“My message to the fans is to make this a magical European night. They can only do so much, we have to do our bit to make it that.”

Since the competition got under way in September, Howe’s plans have been radically altered by circumstances beyond his control with Sandro Tonali’s 10-month suspension and a series of injuries which is only just starting to abate having severely reduced his options.

Slovakia international Dubravka has started the last two league games in place of Nick Pope, who dislocated his shoulder during the 1-0 win over Manchester United on December 2, but his absence from training on Tuesday morning could prove significant with Loris Karius, who played in the Champions League final for Liverpool in May 2018, standing by.

Asked if the 34-year-old would be fit, a coy Howe said: “That is slightly unclear.”

On a brighter note, striker Callum Wilson and midfielder Sean Longstaff both returned from injury as substitutes at Tottenham on Sunday and Wilson, who damaged a hamstring during the 2-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund on November 7, in particular is desperate to make up for lost time.

The 31-year-old England frontman is yet to score in the competition, but is convinced there is a reason for that.

Wilson said: “I personally believe it hasn’t come yet because it’s waiting for a special moment to happen, and what a story it would be if it’s the winning goal tomorrow night.

“We will leave blood, sweat and tears out there. It’s what we do every time we step over the white line and for us as a football club, it’s about having no regrets.

“We have an opportunity in front of us and all we can do is focus on Milan.”

The final round of fixtures in the group stages of this season’s European competitions take place this week.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what is at stake for the British clubs involved.

Champions League

It is crunch time for Manchester United and Newcastle in their bids to reach the knockout stages.

Erik ten Hag’s inconsistent side must beat Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on Tuesday and hope the clash between Copenhagen and Galatasaray ends in a draw to leapfrog both and progress from Group A.

Defeat would end United’s European campaign without even the consolation of a Europa League place.

Newcastle, third in Group F, need to beat AC Milan at St James’ Park on Wednesday to have any hope of going through but that will not be enough if second-placed Paris St Germain overcome Borussia Dortmund.

Having already qualified as winners of their groups, the pressure is off for Arsenal and Manchester City as they travel to PSV Eindhoven and Red Star Belgrade respectively.

Winless Celtic are condemned to last place in Group E and sign off by hosting a Feyenoord side certain to finish third.

Europa League

Rangers travel to Group C leaders Real Betis with qualification on the line.

Victory would seal it for Philippe Clement’s side but anything less would open the door for Sparta Prague, who face bottom side Aris Limassol.

West Ham and Brighton are already through but top spots in their respective Groups A and B – which mean avoiding a play-off tie against a team dropping out of the Champions League – are still to be determined.

The Hammers’ clash with Freiburg and Brighton’s meeting with Marseille, both at home, are effectively shootouts for first place.

Liverpool are already guaranteed top place in Group E regardless of their result at Belgian league leaders Union Saint-Gilloise.

Europa Conference League

Aston Villa have already secured their place in the knockout stages and will win Group E if they avoid defeat at Bosnian side Zrinjski Mostar.

Aberdeen, who are out of contention, end their campaign at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Eddie Howe has vowed to turnaround Newcastle’s poor away form after defeat at Tottenham, but backed his injury-hit team to bounce back in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with AC Milan.

Howe was able to welcome back Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson into his matchday squad on Sunday, although remained without 10 first-teamers for the 4-1 loss in north London.

It made it five defeats in eight away Premier League matches this season, but there is little time for Newcastle to lick their wounds with a must-win clash against AC Milan in midweek.

Magpies chief Howe acknowledged: “It is up to us to find the answers to that. Yeah, I can’t defend it, I can’t defend it so I won’t.

“We will have to (lift ourselves for Wednesday).

“Football is a game decided on big moments and we haven’t been right in those big moments in the last two matches.

“Previous to that, we have been and I think our away form will turn because we’re a very good team, but we need to continue with our good home form because it’s the bedrock of what we’ve been doing. We don’t want anything to affect that.”

Howe has played the same 10 outfield players in each of the last five matches and defended his decision to name an unchanged team after Thursday’s loss at Everton.

He was able to introduce Longstaff (foot) and Wilson (thigh) for the final 30 minutes of the defeat to Tottenham and admitted he is hopeful of getting more players back in the coming weeks.

 

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“If I make changes, I want to make changes that benefit the team. Everyone I picked wanted to play, felt able to play and had no issues, but of course I understand the backlog and fatigue that can build,” Howe added.

“We can’t afford any more injuries to the players we have fit. We need more players back so hopefully that will be the case over the next few weeks.”

England forward Wilson did survive a poor challenge by Spurs defender Cristian Romero on the 80-minute mark, but Howe side-stepped talk of whether it could have been a red card.

Howe admitted: “I only saw it live. I don’t want to see players sent off, unless it is dangerous.

“It looked high and looked reckless and I am very pleased Callum seemed to not be affected by it.”

While Newcastle were left to reflect on back-to-back defeats, Tottenham toasted a first victory in six matches.

There could be more disruption on the horizon though with managerless Swansea expected to step up their pursuit of Ange Postecoglou’s number two Chris Davies this week.

But Postecoglou insisted: “Ah mate, I have not thought about that, not for an instance. I doubt Chris has as well.

“We will deal with that when the time comes. This is the Premier League and if you’re not in it 100 per cent, if you slip a little bit, you will pay a price and our focus has firmly been on a strong performance and getting a result.”

Richarlison fired Tottenham to a first win since October 27 with a brace to inspire a 4-1 victory over Newcastle.

Spurs were Premier League leaders at the beginning of November, but had endured a barren run since after a succession of injuries and failed to win any of their last five matches despite taking the lead in each fixture.

It was a different story this time with Ange Postecoglou’s team selection paying dividends with the recalled Richarlison scoring twice after Destiny Udogie had broke the deadlock in the 26th minute.

Son Heung-min set up two of those goals after being moved back to the left wing and grabbed his 10th goal of the campaign with five minutes left from the penalty spot before Joelinton hit a stoppage-time consolation for Eddie Howe’s side.

Richarlison had one shot blocked and another deflected wide inside five minutes before Newcastle almost took the lead in the ninth minute.

Not long after Bruno Guimaraes had rifled over from 22 yards, Anthony Gordon broke the hosts’ offside trap, but Spurs defender Ben Davies got the faintest of touches to his cross and it was enough to put off Alexander Isak at the back post.

Postecoglou’s side regrouped after as Cristian Romero’s header was cleared off the line, while Son and Brennan Johnson fizzed dangerous balls across the face of goal shortly before the breakthrough.

Udogie passed out to Son on the left wing and the Spurs captain worked a yard of space to cross in for the defender to slot home from close range for his first goal for the club.

It was nothing new Tottenham taking the lead, having done so in 10 matches in a row now, but getting the second goal had been more difficult of late.

Newcastle threatened through Joelinton before the second goal arrived for Spurs in the 38th minute and it was all about Richarlison.

He won possession back on the halfway line before Tottenham moved the ball quickly out to Son, who again got the better of former team-mate Kieran Trippier to tee up the Tottenham number nine to sweep home.

It was only Richarlison’s sixth goal since his £60million transfer from Everton last year, but crucially gave Postecoglou’s team a two-goal cushion and it could have been 3-0 moments later.

Pape Sarr robbed Joelinton of possession and passed into Johnson, who fizzed an effort from 22 yards that skimmed the outside of the far post.

Newcastle came out with improved intent after the break, but their spirit was broken on the hour mark.

Pedro Porro was the architect with a wonderful crossfield pass into Richarlison, who got enough of a touch to bring the ball into his path and slide under Martin Dubravka for his second goal.

The shackles were firmly off now and Johnson side-footed against the inside of the post before Son flashed a volley across goal, which sparked a change by Howe with Callum Wilson introduced.

There was still time for more from Postecoglou’s men when Son was sent through and despite a heavy touch, he got beyond Dubravka and won a spot-kick which he converted.

Newcastle had the final say on proceedings when Joelinton slotted home in the first minute of stoppage time after Wilson’s assist, but Spurs returned to winning ways in style.

Eddie Howe says Newcastle need Bruno Guimaraes to be at his best for his team to tick.

The 26-year-old Brazil international has hit top form in recent weeks after battling his way through a persistent ankle injury which hampered him for several months, and at times prevented him from reaching the heights of his first few months in England.

However, he was one of the Magpies’ star performers in their Premier League victories over Chelsea and Manchester United either side of a 1-1 Champions League draw at Paris St Germain in which he also excelled, and his return to that level could hardly have been better timed for head coach Howe as he contends with an ongoing selection crisis.

He said: “You need your top players to play really well when you’re in a situation like this that we’re in at the moment, and I think Bruno has certainly done that.

“I thought Manchester United and Chelsea, were up there with his best performances, and the first half against PSG.

“I think he was very, very good with the ball, very creative, managed to get himself connected with the players in front of him. But also off the ball, I thought he was really good, physically excellent, pressed really well.

“He’s such an important person to that part of the game for us that it is hard work for him physically, but he’s able to repeat those physical exertions that we need him to, so I think his game’s in a very good place.

“It has to be for us to perform well because he’s at the fulcrum of everything really.”

Guimaraes arrived at St James’ Park in a £35million switch from French side Lyon in January 2022 and, having been eased into the team, he endeared himself to his manager, team-mates and the club’s fans alike with a series of high-quality individual displays which inspired those around him amid a remarkable drive to safety.

However, he left Fulham in January on crutches and wearing a protective boot after damaging his ankle, and despite a swift recovery initially, it was a problem which recurred repeatedly over several months and his form suffered as a result.

Asked how debilitating that injury was, Howe said: “I don’t know, only Bruno could answer that, really.

“I was aware in certain games he might twist his ankle again and be sore for a period of time, but then he’d always come back from that and be able to sort of run it off.

“I don’t recall him missing many training sessions from it, so I think he’s handled that really well.”

Guimaraes will hope to continue in his rich vein at Tottenham on Sunday, with the Magpies looking to bounce back from Thursday night’s 3-0 defeat at Everton, and Howe is looking for even more from him.

He said: “We want to see him influencing games, deciding games with his quality and if we can continually feed him with the ball, then he’s got the qualities to open up any defence.”

Ange Postecoglou admits he owes Newcastle boss Eddie Howe a thank you for his unintended role in his journey to Tottenham.

Sunday will see Postecoglou and Howe go head-to-head for the first time, but back in the summer of 2021 they were the talk of Glasgow.

Howe was widely expected to take the vacant Celtic role only to turn it down following prolonged negotiations, which resulted in Postecoglou getting the nod.

The Australian never looked back and after he won five trophies during his two-year stay in Scotland, it convinced Spurs to give the 58-year-old his first opportunity to be a Premier League manager.

“Oh absolutely, sliding doors moment,” Postecoglou acknowledged.

“There’s probably been no bigger decision in me being here today than Eddie knocking back the Celtic job.

“I haven’t thanked him, I probably should.”

Postecoglou quickly took the Premier League by storm upon his arrival and guided Tottenham to the top flight summit in October, but the past six weeks has produced a five-match winless run and a growing list of absentees.

But the experienced coach is not in the mood to panic, he insisted: “The pressure is the pressure, you know.

“It’s always there, it’s how you kind of treat it and I’ve never let it sort of guide my path or my way forward.

“For me, I don’t have a three or five year plan up my sleeve that’s guaranteed for success. What I do have is a plan that I think will get us to where we need to be.

“How long that takes? I don’t know. It depends on how we keep disciplined in staying and sticking (to) the path.

“It’s how focused you are and how committed you are to go on the path you’ve started. I’m unwavering with that, I just will not budge. I just think that’s what I believe is the best way forward.”

Injuries to Micky van de Ven and James Maddison have proved costly and while Spurs recently welcomed back Pape Sarr and Richarlison, they remain without eight first-teamers for Sunday’s match.

Newcastle boast an equally large number of players on the treatment table, which has opened the door for 17-year-old Lewis Miley, who has impressed over the past month.

Postecoglou has several of his own academy graduates involved in the squad right now and admitted he could turn to Tottenham Under-21 playmaker Jamie Donley, 18, if they continue to struggle for goals.

“It’s fair to say Newcastle are probably the only other club who have gone through anything like we have from an injury perspective. That’s going to affect every club, but I think they’ve battled through it reasonable well, very well in fact,” Postecoglou added.

 

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“Players have an opportunity every day to show what they can do and give me food for thought in terms of selection.

 

“If I’m not doing it, there’s a reason why I’m not doing it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t change for next week or the week after.

“Certainly Jamie, I think he’s developing. It’s benefitted him training with us regularly now.

“He’s a permanent fixture in here and within that context I think our next few games, if he keeps developing the way he is, he’ll get an opportunity in a game as well.”

Alan Pardew was announced as Newcastle manager on a five-and-a-half-year contract on this day in 2010.

The former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton boss was unveiled as successor to the sacked Chris Hughton, who had overseen the Magpies’ promotion in 2009-10, as furious fans made their feelings heard about his appointment.

At a press conference that day Pardew – not accompanied by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley or managing director Derek Llambias – said: “I know they (the fans) are frustrated, that’s fairly obvious by the reaction.

“I’m not going to say I have kept away from it, I have tried to keep up to date with the frustration.

“They probably thought they had some stability with Chris and that’s gone, and the record of managers who have come and gone here, it doesn’t bode well.

“I am trying to say that I will work as hard as I possibly can here to get a situation where I can bring some longevity to the job.”

Pardew took over with the team in the thick of a relegation battle having collected 19 points from their first 16 games of the season.

But he expressed confidence that the side he inherited from Hughton would be good enough to preserve the club’s Premier League status.

He added: “I do think there is enough and we have got to make sure the impact of this mid-season situation with the manager changing isn’t an adverse impact.

“I am very much aware that the only faith I am going to gain is by keeping this club in the Premier League where it belongs.”

Pardew guided Newcastle to a 12th-placed finish that season and fifth the following term. He would stay in the job until January 2015, when he left to take charge of Crystal Palace.

Ange Postecoglou is unequivocal in his belief that Tottenham will come through this tough period but has warned his squad, life will never be comfortable during his reign.

Spurs claimed an unwanted Premier League record on Thursday night when they went ahead for a fifth-consecutive Premier League match, but again failed to hold on with West Ham able to secure a 2-1 away win.

It continued the club’s poor run of results, which has coincided with their squad being depleted by injuries and suspensions but the latest example of Postecoglou’s team taking the lead and throwing it away sparked debate over the historic ‘Spursy’ tag.

While Postecoglou insisted rival fans using that word was akin to playground chat, he acknowledged his players must embrace the pressure if they are to be part of his journey in north London.

“That’s schoolyard stuff. All I need to know is that this club hasn’t won anything for 15 years. That’s all I need to know,” Postecoglou said ahead of Sunday’s visit of Newcastle.

“Why that is and why others may think that is and whatever tag, that’s the reality. There’s no getting away from that.

“There’s no point in me trying to disguise that, or anybody else at this football club trying to disguise that.

“If you want to be successful, then like most organisations, you’ve got to learn from the mistakes of the past, you’ve got to come up with a plan, you’ve got to stick to it.

“I have been there and I have the benefit of experience. I’ve been through this many times, so I know, unequivocally, what we need to do, but for a lot of these guys, it’s the first time and I’m always mindful of that wherever I’ve been.

“Always in the first season there are challenges.

“Players need to go through that and come out the other side and see that, ‘OK, we’ve survived that. It hasn’t killed us, we’re still going, we’re still alive, we’re still up for it,’ right? And then if anything, it can make us stronger going forward.

“My role in this is to guide the players through it. I know how we get through this and I know what the road ahead looks like, but they’ve got to go through it themselves and find out about it themselves.

“Do they want to be part of this because it’s not going to get any easier. That’s the one thing I keep telling them. There’s never going to be a time where it’s going to be smooth – not while I’m at the club.

“Even when things are going well. I’m going to be pushing for us to be better. I’m going to be pushing for us to improve and pushing for us to bring success to this football club.

“So, there’s never going to be a time where they can feel any sort of comfort that things are going to run smoothly. The more they embrace this side of it, the better.”

Tottenham’s major problem in recent weeks has been turning their dominance into goals and they have scored only once in four of their last five matches.

Postecoglou’s team gained plaudits for being great entertainers during the opening months of the campaign when they embarked on a 10-match unbeaten run, but he knows they must marry that with a killer edge.

“I don’t play this kind of football to entertain. I play this kind of football because it wins,” he said.

“Now it happens to also entertain, which I like, but I don’t think they need to be mutually exclusive.

“My whole career has been about winning things. That’s why I want us to play the way we are.

“That’s where you can sometimes fall down a trap and it’s happened at every club I’ve been at, where the players sometimes think playing that football is enough – it’s not.”

Ange Postecoglou says Tottenham could be set for another blow with his senior assistant coach Chris Davies yet to make a decision over the vacant Swansea job.

Spurs rejected an approach from the Sky Bet Championship club to speak with Davies earlier this week, but the Welsh outfit have not given up hoping of hiring Postecoglou’s number two as Michael Duff’s replacement.

Ex-Celtic and Leicester coach Davies was on the touchline for Tottenham’s 2-1 home loss to West Ham on Thursday, which made it four defeats in five for the injury-hit hosts.

Top-four rivals Newcastle are up next for Spurs on Sunday and Postecoglou admitted Davies could still leave for Swansea after that fixture.

“I’ve had a brief discussion with Chris and he knows we’ve got a busy week, so we’ll focus on that,” Postecoglou said.

“He’s an outstanding individual; he’s done some great work with us and great work in the past. It’s not surprising to me that Swansea or other clubs would look at him.

“It’s what you want to be honest. You want good people and when you’ve got good people, they’re going to attract attention.

“From my perspective, whatever that transpires to, it’s very much in Chris’ hands.

“It’s his decision in terms of what he wants to do moving forward and obviously the club will deal with it from there.”

Davies leaving would be another unwanted disruption for Spurs, who remain without several key personnel due to injury and have not tasted victory since October 27.

But Postecoglou added: “I’ve always been relaxed.

“I have said in the past, it is part of my role to develop staff and I am really proud of the fact a lot of the guys I’ve worked with, the reason they are not with me as assistants is because they are senior managers in their own right.

“If you are looking for things that will be disruptive, you can use that as a clutch or an excuse for anything.

“We lost Harry Kane the day before the season started so there is a disruption, we lost half the squad after one game so there is a disruption. There will always be this.

“You can’t work in a vacuum where everything is perfect and, for me, I have been relaxed in these kind of situations because I have always believed the environment will cover whatever challenges we have if we get it right.”

Spurs will need to check on captain Son Heung-min ahead of Sunday’s match after he took a blow to the back late on in the West Ham defeat.

“He was a bit sore after the game obviously, but the extent of it we’ll need to see how he recovers today,” Postecoglou said of Son.

“There were a couple of others with knocks but I don’t think anything else is significant.

“Obviously we got Pape (Sarr) a few minutes last night and I understand him and Richarlison came through OK but there won’t be anyone else coming back between now and the new year.”

The latest round of Premier League fixtures brings the respective battles at both ends of the table into sharp focus.

Leaders Arsenal go head-to-head with surprise package Aston Villa and reigning champions Manchester City attempt to end a rare barren period at the top, while, towards the foot, Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper finds himself in the limelight for the wrong reasons.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding the weekend’s games.

Familiar face

Mikel Arteta may not be pitch-side at Aston Villa on Saturday as he serves a touchline ban, but another Spaniard who is well known to Arsenal will be. Unai Emery was in charge at the Emirates Stadium between May 2018 and November 2019, when the Gunners dispensed with his services after a disappointing run of results. Emery returned to England in October last year and has since guided Villa into the top three, just four points adrift of his former employers at the top of the table and a genuine threat on home soil.

Timing is everything

 

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When Luton secured their promotion to the Premier League via last season’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final, their fans were able to dream of the days when English football’s aristocrats would head for Kenilworth Road. They could be forgiven for watching through their fingers when Manchester City make the trip on Sunday. City, for the first time in seven years, have not won in four league games, but the Hatters have managed only two top-flight victories all season. Few will give the hosts much chance of improving on that statistic this weekend.

Away the lads

 

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Newcastle travel to Tottenham on Sunday desperately searching for form away from St James’ Park. The Magpies, who won eight times on the road last season as they surged to a fourth-place finish, have collected three points away from Tyneside only once in seven attempts so far this season, courtesy of an 8-0 drubbing of Sheffield United. Spurs have lost their last three games on their own pitch to Chelsea, Aston Villa and West Ham. Something seemingly has to give.

Everton back in business

Everton’s response to the 10-point penalty which has left them fighting for their top-flight lives has been hugely impressive. Thursday night’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle – their fourth in six league outings – lifted them out of the bottom three and proved the perfect preparation for Chelsea’s visit to Goodison Park on Sunday. The Blues currently lie in 10th place with 19 points, one fewer than the total the Toffees would have had but for their punishment.

Cooper over a barrel?

Spare a thought for Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper. He has bullishly played down suggestions he could be out of a job if Forest lose a fifth successive league game when they head for Wolves on Saturday. The Welshman guided the club back into the Premier League at the end of the 2021-22 campaign and kept them there last season with four points to spare, the same margin they currently enjoy over the bottom three.

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