The message for Newcastle United's critics after FA Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday
For the second successive season, the club has gone out of the FA Cup at the third-round tie at the hands of a League One side – and that, clearly, isn’t good enough.
Sheffield Wednesday won 2-1 at Hillsborough tonight thanks to two goals from Josh Windass. Bruno Guimaraes netted for Newcastle, while Chris Wood missed a late chance.
The game, which saw Alexander Isak make his comeback from injury, came after Howe addressed critics of his team following Tuesday night’s goalless draw against Premier League leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
United’s head coach said: “We’re not here to be popular, and to get other teams to like us. We’re here to compete.”
Newcastle have been fiercely-competitive in the Premier League so far this season, and if Howe’s team can maintain their form in the league – and, importantly, progress to the Carabao Cup semi-finals next week – this result will be forgotten.
Howe, without Allan Saint-Maximin due to illness, had made eight changes for the tie. Callum Wilson, Nick Pope and Fabian Schar stayed behind on Tyneside along with Saint-Maximin, and Martin Dubravka, recalled from a loan at Manchester United, made his first Newcastle appearance since last May.
Isak, making his first appearance since September 17, forced an early save from Cameron Dawson with a downward header from a right-wing Javier Manquillo cross in front of Newcastle’s 4,500-strong travelling contingent in the Leppings Lane end.
Windass shot wide at the other end after running on to a misjudged backpass from Elliot Anderson, but the forward shot wide.
Isak forced another save after Manquillo, a threat on the overlap, played him in with a clever ball forward.
Matt Ritchie shot after Manquillo delivered a low cross to the edge of the box at the half-hour mark during a good spell of pressure from Howe’s team.
Wednesday tried to rally as the break approached, but United ended the half on top. Ritchie lofted a lovely ball over the top into the path of Jacob Murphy, but the home side were able to clear the danger.
Wood replaced Isak at the interval in a planned change, but the breakthrough was to come at the other end. A move down the right was finished by Windass, but replays showed that he was in an offside position.
There was no VAR, so the goal stood. Howe responded by sending on Guimaraes, Miguel Almiron and Joe Willock, but things soon got worse for his team. United were caught through the middle, and Windass beat Dubravka for a second time.
Substitute Kieran Trippier swung in a corner with his first touch which was flicked on by Wood and finished, from close range, by an offside Guimaraes to give Newcastle hope of staying in the competition going into the last 20 minutes.
Windass struck the crossbar with a free-kick, and Wood missed a great chance after Joelinton played him in.
United pushed hard for an equaliser, but the home side held on to win.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka, Manquillo, Lascelles, Botman, Lewis (Trippier, 69), Anderson (Willock, 60), Longstaff (Guimaraes, 60), Joelinton, Murphy (Almiron, 60), Isak (Wood, 46), Ritchie.