Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has vowed not to give up on the race for European football in the face of a seemingly unending injury crisis.

The Magpies boosted their hopes of securing a top six finish with Saturday’s remarkable 4-3 victory over West Ham, a game in which they trailed 3-1 with just 13 minutes remaining.

It came at a cost, though, with skipper Jamaal Lascelles rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury which could sideline him for up to nine months.

Lascelles is Howe’s latest long-term casualty, but as he prepared for Tuesday night’s home clash with Everton, the head coach was refusing to throw in the towel.

He said: “There was always that feeling that the season was alive but, of course, you have to win games and the more you don’t win, the more the season slips away very quickly.

“We know the quality of the league and we know how difficult it is to win consistently, but that’s what we’re chasing now.”

Lascelles’ misfortune represents a huge blow, coming less than a fortnight after fellow central defender Sven Botman was ruled out for a similar period with a similar injury.

It is the latest long-term injury blow for a club which has suffered more than its fair share this season.

Keeper Nick Pope – who is still sidelined – and frontman Jacob Murphy have dislocated shoulders, defender Dan Burn broke a bone in his back, Joelinton damaged a thigh tendon, Joe Willock sat out extended periods with hamstring and Achilles injuries and striker Callum Wilson is currently recovering from pectoral muscle surgery.

Harvey Barnes, whose two goals as a substitute on Saturday ultimately saw off the Hammers, spent four and a half months in the treatment room with a toe injury before his return to action last month, while Emil Krafth, Matt Targett and Elliot Anderson, as well as the suspended Sandro Tonali, have all missed significant periods.

However, what has not changed is the spirit within a squad which is battling to stay in the mix for European football against all the odds, a quality which was very much to the fore at the weekend.

Howe said: “I always say the team is made up of the character of the players, and you could see the character shining through because I think without that, we were dead and buried and we wouldn’t have come back in the manner that we did.

“The spirit is still there and that’s the most important thing beyond anything. If you have spirit, you have a chance.”

Newcastle head into the Everton came sitting in eighth place in the table, five points behind Manchester United in sixth with doubts over Tino Livramento and Miguel Almiron, who limped off at the weekend with ankle and knee injuries respectively, but hopeful that Kieran Trippier could return from a calf problem.

Burn, Krafth or Paul Dummett could plug the gap left by Lascelles in central defence with summer signing Lewis Hall, who has impressed in his most recent appearances as a substitute, a candidate to take over at left-back should Burn get the nod in the middle.

Eddie Howe praised saviour Harvey Barnes after he came off the bench to drag Newcastle from the jaws of defeat to a remarkable Premier League victory over West Ham.

The Magpies were trailing 3-1 at St James’ Park when £38million summer signing Barnes was introduced as a 67th-minute replacement for injured substitute Miguel Almiron and 23 madcap minutes later, he scored the second of two goals to secure a stunning 4-3 win.

Head coach Howe said: “Harvey deserves that. The thing with Harvey is that he’s a goalscorer. He does score goals. You look at his statistics and his record, and it’s incredible really for a wide player.

“You just look at the amount of goals he got last season for Leicester. We felt, signing him, that he could get similar numbers for us. He’s just been struck by injuries, and he’s had a difficult start to his Newcastle career.

“But the quality is undoubtedly there and I thought the two finishes today were typical Harvey. It wasn’t easy to score the first one – although it was a one-on-one, he had a really small part of the goal to aim at and took it brilliantly.

“Then the second one, I hope it will live on for a long time because at 3-3, the ball drops to him on his right foot, but he still has so much to do. It’s a great goal.”

Alexander Isak had fired the Magpies into a sixth-minute lead from the penalty spot, by Michail Antonio’s equaliser and a second from the impressive Mohammed Kudus had the visitors 2-1 ahead at the break.

Jarrod Bowen’s strike three minutes after the restart looked to have won the game, but Isak repeated the dose from the spot with 13 minutes remaining after substitute Kalvin Phillips had tripped Anthony Gordon – who was later sent off for a second bookable offence – to set up a chaotic finish.

Barnes levelled with seven minutes remaining, but saved the best for last when he smashed an unstoppable 90th-minute drive past substitute keeper Lukasz Fabianski to complete the comeback.

Howe said: “It was a brilliant advert for the Premier League, I think, a really good advert for the league in terms of the drama, the changes in the game and the flows in momentum.”

The only down side for Howe was the addition of skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Tino Livramento and Almiron to to an already extensive injury list, while Gordon will be suspended for Tuesday’s clash with former club Everton.

He was at least able to reflect on a spirited fightback and he headed home, in stark contrast to opposite number David Moyes, who had thrown England international Phillips into the mix in an attempt to stem the flow.

Moyes said: “I thought an extra midfield player would give us a bit more control in the middle of the pitch at that time. But obviously it didn’t work.

“At the time, I felt that they were slightly the better team. We were 2-1, we got 3-1 but from that point onwards, we needed to defend well and be stronger and be harder to play against.

“But hey, we scored three, they scored four, we lose the game. We did a lot of good things, certainly going forward. Our attacking play as very good.”

Harvey Barnes came off the bench to fire Newcastle to a remarkable Premier League victory over West Ham as they fought back from two goals down to snatch the points.

The Magpies, who led through Alexander Isak’s sixth-minute penalty, trailed 3-1 with just 13 minutes remaining after Michail Anthony, Mohammed Kudus and Jarrod Bowen had struck in an incident-packed contest during which referee Rob Jones was at the centre of the action throughout.

However, a second Isak penalty reduced the deficit before Barnes levelled with seven minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish during which he secured a 4-3 win with a stunning 90th-minute strike, before Anthony Gordon was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Eddie Howe’s men, whose injury problems deepened as they lost skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Tino Livramento and substitute Miguel Almiron, were rewarded for their resilience on a chaotic afternoon, but opposite number David Moyes, who was booked as tempers frayed, was scarcely able to believe what he had seen.

Newcastle could hardly have got off to a better start when they were awarded a penalty for Vladimir Coufal’s clumsy challenge on Gordon after the defender’s pass forward had been picked off by Fabian Schar and the former Everton frontman had carved his way into the area.

Jones pointed to the spot, but Isak had to await the outcome of a VAR check for offside against Gordon before sending keeper Alphonse Areola the wrong way from the spot.

Seconds after Lascelles’ premature departure, Michael Antonio fired a warning shot across Newcastle’s bows when he turned Dan Burn, who had been pushed into central defence as Livramento took over at left-back to accommodate substitute Emil Krafth on the right, but fired over with the Hammers looking the more threatening.

They duly forced their way back into the game with 21 minutes gone when Lucas Paqueta picked out Antonio’s run and he drew keeper Martin Dubravka before finishing emphatically.

Gordon fired straight at Areola after cutting inside from the left and then headed wide from Jacob Murphy’s teasing 36th-minute cross, but it was Bruno Guimaraes who went close deep into first-half stoppage time when his curling attempt came back off the crossbar with Areola beaten.

However, the Hammers went ahead in the 10th minute of added time when, with Schar down, Paqueta was allowed to take a quick free-kick to Bowen, who fed Mohammed Kudus to fire past Dubravka amid furious protests from the home side.

Lukasz Fabianski replaced Areola before the restart and saw his side extend their advantage within three minutes when, after Thomas Soucek had got his head to Murphy’s corner, Kudus evaded Schar’s lunge and squared for Bowen to race from halfway and beat Dubravka despite Gordon’s valiant efforts to get back.

Fabianski easily claimed Guimaraes clipped shot and both Isak and Sean Longstaff stabbed horribly wide as the home side sought a way back into the game before the keeper denied Barnes.

However, Newcastle were awarded a second penalty after a VAR check on substitute Kalvin Phillips’ challenge on Gordon and Isak sent Fabianski the wrong way with an identical spot-kick to give his side hope with 13 minutes remaining.

They were level within six minutes when the Sweden international played Barnes through and he fired between Fabianski’s legs, and there was more to come in the final minute of normal time when Gordon, who was later dismissed after kicking the ball away, fed Barnes and he stepped inside before drilling an unstoppable shot beyond Fabianski’s despairing dive.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe has urged the Football Association not to “throw the book” at midfielder Sandro Tonali after charging him with further betting offences.

The 23-year-old, who is currently serving a 10-month worldwide ban imposed by the Italian Football Federation in October after he admitted breaking gambling rules, is alleged to have breached FA rule E8 50 times by betting on matches between August 12 and October 12 last year.

However, Howe, who has been without his £55million summer signing from AC Milan since October, is hoping English football’s governing body will not impose further stringent punishment on a player whose agent, Giuseppe Riso, has insisted is battling a “gambling addiction”.

Howe said: “The news that there was an FA charge, that illness didn’t stop when he moved from Italy to England, that illness was there and people should look at it that way, not ‘let’s throw the book at him and let’s punish him even further’ because I don’t think that gets to the root of the problem.

“We need to protect all our players because this is something that’s open to everybody and becoming a bigger problem in society, so this isn’t just a problem for Sandro.”

Asked if he was worried Tonali, who has until April 5 to respond, could be handed a consecutive ban to run after the existing penalty has come to an end, Howe added: “We don’t know, is the honest answer. I certainly hope for Sandro that there are no further consequences.

“He has suffered during this period, he has sought help, he’s been very honest, he has admitted he has an issue, and I think the best thing for Sandro would be to resume his career having taken his punishment and having learned a lot of lessons from this.”

Tonali’s initial 18-month suspension was reduced by eight months on condition that he underwent treatment for his addiction and made 16 public appearances in Italy to talk to young players about the dangers of gambling.

He is currently allowed to train with Newcastle, who face West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, but cannot play again until the end of August.

Asked how Tonali is dealing with the situation, Howe said: “He is seeking help on a regular basis. This is something that won’t go away for him, so he has regular meetings in Italy and in England to deal with the problems that he has.

“But I have to say mentally, he’s been very good in his training sessions, he’s been very good off the pitch. He’s been a brilliant team-mate to the people here and supporting team-mates and training really well to set a positive example.

“His English has improved a lot as well, which has been great. He can communicate now really well with his team-mates, which is such an important thing.

“I’m really positive about his comeback, whenever that is, that he’ll have a huge impact on the team.”

Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules, the FA has announced.

Tonali is alleged to have breached FA rule E8 50 times by betting on matches between August 12, 2023 and October 12, 2023.

The 23-year-old, who is currently serving a 10-month ban for betting offences while playing in Italy, has until April 5 to respond.

Newcastle said in a statement: “Newcastle United acknowledges a misconduct charge received by Sandro Tonali in respect of alleged breaches of FA Betting Rules.

“Sandro continues to fully comply with relevant investigations and he retains the club’s full support.

“Due to this ongoing process, Sandro and Newcastle United are unable to offer further comment at this time.”

In October last year Tonali was suspended for 10 months after reaching a plea bargain following an investigation into illegal betting conducted by the Italian Prosecutor’s Officer and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

He was also fined 20,000 euros and ordered to partake in an eight-month course of therapy to address his issues after his agent, Giuseppe Riso, said the former AC Milan midfielder was living with a gambling addiction.

Newcastle defender Sven Botman is facing up to nine months on the sidelines as he prepares to undergo knee surgery.

The Magpies have confirmed the 24-year-old Dutchman will undergo a procedure to repair his anterior cruciate ligament next week after limping out of Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Manchester City.

Botman, a £32million signing from French club Lille during the summer of 2022, had recently returned from a knee injury sustained in September.

A statement on the club’s official website said: “Newcastle United defender Sven Botman will undergo surgery next week after suffering a knee injury against Manchester City.

“Following further assessment, a scan has confirmed that he sustained an injury to his ACL during Saturday’s match and he is expected to return to action within six-to-nine months.

“The Dutch centre-back initially sustained a knee injury in September 2023 and elected for a non-surgical rehabilitation plan – a decision which saw him return to action in December.

“Everyone at Newcastle United wishes Sven a full and speedy recovery.”

The news will come as a huge blow to head coach Eddie Howe.

Botman returned to action in December after a lay-off of almost three months, but has struggled to regain the form of his first season on Tyneside, during which he played a key role in the club’s top-four Premier League finish.

He is the latest member of Howe’s squad to face a lengthy lay-off during the campaign with goalkeeper Nick Pope still working his way back from a shoulder injury and midfielder Joelinton and striker Callum Wilson also sidelined for extended periods.

In addition, Emil Krafth, Matt Targett, Elliot Anderson, Jacob Murphy, Joe Willock and Harvey Barnes have all endured lengthy spells in the treatment room, with summer signing Sandro Tonali serving a 10-month ban for breaching betting regulations.

What the papers say

Gareth Southgate is the top choice of Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe to replace Erik ten Hag as manager in the summer, reports the Star.

According to The Times, Nottingham Forest may be forced to sell star players by the end of June to avoid losing more points for breaching financial rules.

Tottenham, Chelsea, and West Ham are all keen on England striker Ivan Toney, reports The Sun.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jack Grealish: HITC writes that Manchester City might let the England forward leave this summer, with the club understood to be raising funds to boost their squad.

Alexander Isak: The Newcastle and Sweden striker is on Arsenal’s summer shortlist, says Football Insider.

Erling Haaland: The Manchester City striker limped out of training while on international duty with Norway, alarming his club, writes The Guardian.

England manager Gareth Southgate is facing the unwelcome prospect of some potential members of his Euro 2024 squad flying halfway across the world for a post-season friendly.

The PA news agency understands Tottenham will play Premier League rivals Newcastle at Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 22.

Newcastle’s FA Cup exit last weekend opened the door for the Magpies to face Spurs in a post-season friendly, which will see the two clubs jet off for Australia immediately after their final league game of the season on May 19.

A decision on the squads taken Down Under will be made nearer to the time, but Southgate could see three players potentially in his Euro 2024 squad fly halfway across the world days before they link up on international duty.

Tottenham’s James Maddison and Newcastle attacker Anthony Gordon were named in the England squad for the March friendlies with Brazil and Belgium, while Kieran Trippier is a strong candidate to feature in this summer’s European Championships in Germany.

It is possible all three could jet off to Australia for the post-season friendly and days after they return to England they will be required to join Southgate’s squad for a training camp ahead of Euro 2024.

The Football Association has been approached for comment.

England manager Gareth Southgate is facing the unwelcome prospect of certain members of his Euro 2024 squad flying halfway across the world for a post-season friendly.

The PA news agency understands Tottenham will play Premier League rivals Newcastle at Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 22.

Newcastle’s FA Cup exit last weekend opened the door for the Magpies to face Spurs in a post-season friendly, which will see the two clubs jet off for Australia immediately after their final league game of the season on May 19.

A decision on the squads taken Down Under will be made nearer to the time, but Southgate could see three players potentially in his Euro 2024 squad fly halfway across the world days before they link up on international duty.

Tottenham’s James Maddison and Newcastle attacker Anthony Gordon were named in the England squad for the March friendlies with Brazil and Belgium, while Kieran Trippier is a strong candidate to feature in this summer’s European Championships in Germany.

It is possible all three could jet off to Australia for the post-season friendly and days after they return to England they will be required to join Southgate’s squad for a training camp ahead of Euro 2024.

The Football Association has been approached for comment.

Pep Guardiola praised the attitude of his Manchester City players after they became the first team in the history of the FA Cup to reach the semi-finals in six consecutive seasons.

Two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva secured a 2-0 win over Newcastle and the first of what City hope will be three visits to Wembley before the end of the season as they remain in the hunt for a second consecutive treble.

Guardiola is keen to deflect talk of that but praised their consistency, pointing to their record both in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, which they won in four consecutive years between 2018 and 2021.

“After we won the treble, and five titles, we’re coming to the international break with two months left and to be in contention for all the titles means a lot,” the City boss said.

“I know people talk about the Premier League, the Champions League, but to have won four Carabao Cups and (reach) six FA Cup semi-finals in a row, this team, this club, has something special, so it’s incredible.

“Of course we want to win all of them but sometimes this is not possible basically for the quality of the opponents and the schedule we have…but we were there six times in a row.

“Always you can have a bad night or a bad afternoon and to be there six times, you didn’t have a bad night. And for those that doubt the consistency of the team you prove they are wrong.”

City effectively put this tie to bed early on. The opener came in the 13th minute when Silva’s right-footed strike looped up off Dan Burn and into the net, and just after the half-hour mark, the Portugal international cut on to his left to hit a shot that found its way in off Sven Botman’s head.

Silva signed a one-year contract extension in September, but while his terms run until 2026, the 29-year-old has been the subject of long-running speculation over a move away.

“Everybody loves him,” Guardiola said of the midfielder. “He is really important for us and that he stays is really, really important.”

Newcastle ended City’s aspirations in the Carabao Cup in September with a 1-0 win at St James’ Park, but have since suffered home and away defeats in the Premier League to the reigning champions, and rarely threatened to trouble Guardiola’s side here, managing only two attempts at goals all game.

Manager Eddie Howe was pleased with how his defenders marshalled City’s attack and could only rue the deflected nature of the goals.

“Of course the goals are difficult to take, especially the first one with a big deflection to fly into the top corner,” Howe said. “That’s the football gods working against us in that respect. I thought the lads gave everything today.

“Manchester City are very difficult to play against at any time but when they’re in that kind of mood, they pick those players with a technical base, their aim was to keep possession and make it difficult for us. We’re trying to unsettle their rhythm, it’s a really delicate game and I thought we did OK.”

Defeat ensures Newcastle’s wait for a major domestic trophy will continue into a 70th year. They sit 10th in the Premier League, a long way from the side that finished fourth last term, but Howe is still targeting a return to European football.

“I don’t think we can feel sorry for ourselves,” Howe said.

“This season could have ended up very different, some of the big moments have gone against us, but we have to take responsibility for that.

“We will come back. The two-week break has come at a good time for us to let this result sink in and then focus on our last 10 games in the Premier League.”

Two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva saw Manchester City become the first team in the history of the FA Cup to reach the semi-finals six seasons running with a 2-0 win over Newcastle.

Pep Guardiola may not want to talk about the prospect of a second treble, but his side are now unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions going into the international break after what turned into a Saturday evening stroll in the Manchester rain.

Newcastle can point to a crippling injury list, but the team that ended City’s aspirations in the Carabao Cup back in September could barely lay a glove on them this time, finishing the match with only two efforts at goal to City’s 16.

Guardiola made five changes to the side held 1-1 at Liverpool last weekend, some of them enforced after injuries to Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne, but his players did not skip a beat as they dominated play from the off.

Silva’s 13th-minute opener was the hosts’ first real sight of goal but it had all been City up to that point as they looked for an opening.

When Silva took a stride forward in the Newcastle box, he found space to try a curling shot which deflected off Dan Burn to leave Martin Dubravka wrong-footed.

The second goal came in the 31st minute. Where Silva hit the opener with his right foot, this time he cut inside on to his left and looked for the far post, instead finding the net with the help of Sven Botman’s head.

Newcastle needed a response as the game threatened to get away from them before half-time. In the 36th minute Burn headed Jacob Murphy’s ball back across goal to Alexander Isak, but his well-struck shot was kept out by the left palm of Stefan Ortega.

The German goalkeeper would have always expected to play in this match as Guardiola’s regular cup starter, but it was a welcome sign for City given the injury Ederson suffered at Anfield last weekend.

At the other end a lovely spin from Phil Foden put the England man through on goal, but Bruno Guimaraes did well to force him wide as his off-balance shot missed the target.

They kept the pressure on in the closing minutes of the half as Dubravka saved from Jeremy Doku and then, from the resulting corner, kept out Ruben Dias’ close-range header.

And City were straight back on it at the start of the first half as Foden’s flick released Doku, whose low shot across goal was well saved by the goalkeeper.

Erling Haaland, whose scored five goals as City brushed aside Luton 6-2 in the previous round, then tried his luck, taking the ball from Mateo Kovacic on the halfway line and driving at the Newcastle defence before curling a shot narrowly wide of the post.

The third goal that might have killed the game off completely would not come, yet City rarely looked troubled.

In the 65th minute Silva was dispossessed and Newcastle substitute Miguel Almiron charged at goal. Isak, in plenty of space to his right, demanded the ball but when it came, the pass was behind him and the chance – a rare one for the Magpies – disappeared.

City sent on Oscar Bobb, scorer of their stoppage-time winner at St James’ Park in January, and Julian Alvarez as they kept looking for a third, but Haaland was twice denied late on.

Pep Guardiola hopes to have the Jack Grealish of last season back for the closing stages of Manchester City’s latest push for silverware.

Grealish, a key part of City’s treble success last season, has endured a frustrating campaign this time around.

He missed a month early in the season with a dead leg and a groin problem has limited him to just one appearance in City’s last seven games.

The 28-year-old also had a spell out through illness and had personal matters to deal with after a high-profile burglary at his home.

His form has suffered and, with other players excelling in his place, he has not been able to get a consistent run in the side.

Yet he could return as City take on Newcastle in the FA Cup quarter-finals at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and Guardiola believes the player can get back to his best.

The City manager said: “We’ll see. We have this game and then two weeks where he will work hard and as clever as possible to be ready when we come back.

“He’s trained the last two or three days really good. He feels good and positive.

“Saturday maybe we’ll need him and then he has these two weeks especially to work well and come back.

“Then we can have the Jack that unfortunately this season we had few, few times – and he can help us.

“Always we dream of arriving at the last international break of the season in all competitions.

“Jack has helped us but not like last season. That’s why the most important thing is to recover well from this minor injury and take a good condition in case we need him.

“I’m not going to say how important Jack is – of course he is. But he has to be ready.”

City will come up against one of world football’s standout players in Jude Bellingham when they face Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League next month.

The holders have been drawn against the Spanish giants for a third successive season and Guardiola recognises they are a tougher proposition with the Englishman in their midfield.

City overpowered Real in last year’s semi-finals with a 4-0 win in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola said of Bellingham: “His impact has been massive. It’s a different team from last season. His influence is obvious, and we have to try to discover what he does to control it.

“Facing Real Madrid is always a tough challenge, nobody can deny it. They are an exceptional club, and in this competition can control many things with the experience they have had in the past.

“We have made steps in the last few years but it could be so difficult.”

Kevin De Bruyne will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle on Saturday with a minor groin injury.

The news emerged after the City playmaker was not included in Belgium’s squad for their international friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and England later this month.

The PA news agency understands the problem is not considered too serious by City and the club are hopeful he will be fit for their crucial Premier League clash with Arsenal on March 31.

It is nevertheless another setback for De Bruyne after missing most of the first half of the campaign following hamstring surgery.

It is unclear when the 32-year-old suffered the injury. He looked frustrated to be substituted after 69 minutes of last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at title rivals Liverpool but there was no suggestion at the time he was injured.

It is City’s second fitness blow in the space of a few days after goalkeeper Ederson was ruled out for up to four weeks with a thigh injury.

The Brazilian was hurt in a collision with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez – in which he conceded a penalty – at Anfield and was replaced by number two Stefan Ortega.

What the papers say

Manchester United have identified 21-year-old Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite as their top transfer target this summer, according to the Daily Star. Branthwaite has a deal with the Toffees until 2027.

The Daily Mirror says United will pursue Branthwaite regardless of boss Erik ten Hag’s future at the club, with the England Under-21 international valued at £75million.

Meanwhile, Everton are said to be interested in Hull defender Jacob Greaves, Football Insider reports, with the 23-year-old likely to leave the club if they miss promotion to the Premier League.

The i says Tiago Pinto, who was formerly at Roma, is interested in taking over the sporting director role from Dan Ashworth at Newcastle, who looks to be headed to Manchester United.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Bruno Guimaraes: Football Transfers says Manchester City are interested in a bid for the 26-year-old Newcastle midfielder who has a £100million clause in his contract.

Pedro Neto: Wolves will be in a battle to keep their winger after Tottenham joined Liverpool, Newcastle and Arsenal in the race to sign the 24-year-old.

Mauricio Pochettino warned there will be more problems for Chelsea if they fail to build on their 3-2 victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge as he praised the impact of match-winning substitute Mykhailo Mudryk.

The Ukrainian came off the bench to score with a superb individual goal to make it 3-1 in the 76th minute, pelting on to the ball at full tilt before tricking his way beyond a dumbfounded Fabian Schar and nipping round Martin Dubravka to finish.

“It was a very good goal and that is what we expect from a player from the bench – impact,” said Pochettino. “Then it is about competing with different players in his position. Then he will deserve to (start).”

The goal helped settle a finely balanced game, the kind that has so often slipped away from Chelsea under Pochettino.

They had already allowed an advantage to get away from them on the stroke of half-time.

Leading 1-0, Chelsea made two errors to hand Newcastle a way back into the match. First, the otherwise impressive Malo Gusto was caught trying to juggle the ball in midfield, then Trevoh Chalobah rushed up from central defence to assist and left a gaping hole into which Alexander Isak darted and rifled the visitors level.

Earlier, Nicolas Jackson had given his team a deserved sixth-minute lead, applying the deftest touch with his heel to Cole Palmer’s strike, getting just enough contact to divert it out of the reach of Dubravka and into the bottom corner.

Palmer, brilliant again on the right of a forward three, scored a 13th goal of his debut Chelsea season early in the second half.

Enzo Fernandez spotted the Blues’ top-scorer in space and gave the ball to him with his back to goal. With his first touch Palmer turned and with his second he lashed a shot inside the near post for 2-1.

Then came Mudryk’s decisive moment of magic and, although Jacob Ramsey gave Chelsea a scare with a cracking late drive from range, Pochettino’s young side clung on.

“We need to understand that we are Chelsea,” said Pochettino. “We are in a project that is completely different (to the past). Some people might be confused. When people don’t want to listen, it’s difficult.

“But we are trying to explain we are a different Chelsea, we are building something different. It’s going to be tough.

“We need to keep believing, even when it’s tough circumstances. We played (the Carabao Cup) final, 120 minutes, then after three days we play the FA Cup and we play Brentford. In six days we played three very tough games, nearly with the same team.

“It was really tough. If that means we are a disaster, OK. The most important thing is it’s not affecting the team. They know what they need to do and we keep believing.

“The win today is important for our fans to be a little bit more calm. But I think if we don’t win our next game, it’s going to be again a problem. That is Chelsea.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe reflected on a match that had been there for the taking before Mudryk’s late strike.

“I thought it was a game in the balance and an open game,” he said. “The game got away from us with the goals we conceded which were really poor from our perspective – they were self-induced.

“Wherever you play you have to pride yourself on being tight and I don’t think Chelsea had an abundance of chances tonight.

“But the way the goals came from our perspective is hugely frustrating as we know the details have to get better.”

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