Eddie Howe gives verdict on Ciaran Clark's red card in 2-1 win friendly over Al-Ittihad

Newcastle United wrapped up their training camp in Saudi Arabia with a 2-1 win over Al-Ittihad as both sides finished the match with 10 men.

Saturday, 29th January 2022, 9:38 am

Allan Saint-Maximin’s early goal was cancelled out by Abdo Hamdallah just before half-time in the 70 minute match. Substitute Ryan Fraser scored after the break to secure victory for The Magpies.

A ‘good workout’ was somewhat soured as Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Hamdallah, who was also given his marching orders for his retaliation.

While Howe felt there was ‘no need’ for the red cards in a training match, he couldn’t argue with the decision itself.

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Eddie Howe, Manager of Newcastle United speaks to the press after their sides victory during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road on January 22, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

“Both sides were very keen to play the game in the right spirit,” he said. “I thought there was a couple of difficult moments for the referee. There was no need for the red card, I thought he could have dealt with it in a different way but by the book it was probably the right decision.

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Howe told NUFC TV: “I thought it was a good workout. I thought the standard of game was good, I thought the opposition were good. It was a good test for us and when you play a game that is what you want.

"We were set certain challenges especially when the game went to 10 each in terms of numbers. Physically from that perspective, I thought we came through quite well.”

Newcastle’s goals are unable to be shown as highlights due to Premier League broadcasting rules but both were of a very high standard.

Saint-Maximin rifled the ball into the top left corner of the goal from 15-yards to give Newcastle the lead and Fraser restored the advantage by controlling Joe Willock’s flick on and blasting the ball in on the half volley. The Scottish winger jokingly described the goal afterwards as ‘an absolute screamer’.

“We scored two outstanding goals,” Howe admitted. “Allan's was very special, trademark individual brilliance from a situation where we won the ball high up the pitch but a fantastic bit of individual play.

"He also had another good run which was well worth seeing again and we were unlucky not to score from that and I thought he had a really good half. R

"Ryan's goal was great to see, I thought it was a really good team move. We kept the ball for a long period of time and Ryan finished it off really well.

“We've still got a lot to work on and our performance levels have still got to improve and that was evident today but I was pleased with the player's response especially in the second half.

“Providing we've come through the game with no injuries, I think the trip has been a brilliant experience for everyone. We've all come closer together.

"We needed the game [on Friday], you could see a bit of rustiness but we've had some good training and I think there was a little bit of fatigue going into the game but we're all trying to get into the best possible shape for Everton.”

Newcastle’s next match sees them take on Everton at St James’s Park on February 8.

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