Eddie Howe issues exciting Newcastle United update on Allan Saint-Maximin

Eddie Howe used three substitutes in Newcastle United’s 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Southampton – and all of them made an impact.

That was the verdict of Howe after Alexander Isak – who returned from long-term injury earlier this month – came off the bench to set up match-winner Joelinton with a run and cross down the right at the St Mary’s Stadium.

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Howe also sent on Allan Saint-Maximin and Jacob Murphy, and United’s head coach believes that the former – who hasn’t started a Premier League game since late August – is “returning to his best form”.

“I thought all the subs, even Jacob coming on, he didn’t have as long as the other two, did really well,” said Howe.

“Alex’s contribution to the goal was exceptional, and he could have scored right at the end. Really, really pleased with him.

“And Maxi, his decision-making, and when to dribble and when to pass, was at the highest level. I think we’re seeing Maxi hopefully return to his best form.”

The return leg at St James’s Park will be played on January 31 after a free weekend for Newcastle following their FA Cup exit.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe and some of his players, including Alexander Isak, applaud fans at the end of the game.

"Tough game, both sides had their moments and had chances to win the game, but we know it's only half time – and there's a long way to go,” said Howe.

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"It's been a good day, but there's still a long way to go in the tie. I can't be critical in any way.

"We defended well, Nick (Pope) made some big saves again.”

Meanwhile, Southampton manager Nathan Jones was “proud” of his players.

Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin last night.
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"I’m really proud of the level of performance,” said Jones. “These are a top side, big physical and athletic. They’ve had time to recruit, and they’re a real tough side to play against.

"I thought we were excellent. They had a couple of big chances, and we had a couple of big chances. For us to compete, and be like we were, it shows we’ve come a long way, and, in the second half, we went after the game. We really stepped it up."