Eddie Howe plays down ‘lucky’ Newcastle United verdict after AC Milan Champions League draw

Eddie Howe ‘can’t underestimate the power’ of Newcastle United’s 0-0 draw with AC Milan at the San Siro in their Champions League group stage opener.

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Although Milan had the majority of the chances, Newcastle remained in the game thanks to some smart goalkeeping from Nick Pope and resolute defending to keep a second successive clean sheet for the first time since January.

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The Magpies’ only shot on target came in stoppage time as Sean Longstaff’s effort was tipped over by substitute goalkeeper Marco Sportiello. At the other end, Milan squandered a number of chances as they had 25 shots on goal without scoring.

But Howe was quick to play down any claims that his side were ‘lucky’ to get a result.

“I didn’t think the draw was luck today on our part,” Howe said in his post match press conference at the San Siro.

“I was slightly disappointed with the way we played with the ball tonight but there are loads of different reasons for that. I thought the way we defended was commendable with our block shots and how many times we threw ourselves in front of the ball.

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“We were determined to defend our goal, yes our goalkeeper played well but it was a really good defensive display in a very hostile atmosphere and a very difficult place to come. Can’t underestimate the power of that draw.”

Next up for Newcastle in the Champions League group stage is Paris Saint-Germain at St James’ Park on October 4 (8pm kick-off). Howe’s side then host Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund on October 25 (8pm kick-off).