Eddie Howe recognizes that Newcastle is facing a pivotal moment in their Champions League journey and they must push themselves to the limit as they take on Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening.
Since Newcastle’s dominant 4-1 victory over PSG at St James’ Park in October, many things have shifted. The most significant change is the injury situation that has resulted in 12 key players being sidelined and unable to join their teammates in preparation for their upcoming match at the Parc des Princes. After losing two more European matches against Borussia Dortmund, Newcastle now sits at the bottom of Group F and knows that a loss in Paris will result in elimination from the group stage of the competition.
However, Chelsea experienced a 4-1 defeat against Newcastle last Saturday where they learned that Howe’s team is still a threat, especially when their adrenaline is high.
Howe stated that his team must push themselves to their limits in order to secure a third-place finish next month, which would guarantee them a spot in the knockout rounds of the Europa League. He believes that teams perform their best when they have a heightened sense of emotion, and his team will need all the motivation and energy they can muster in order to achieve a positive result in this match.
This is a crucial moment in our campaign and we are determined to give it our all. We must perform at our best and not settle for anything less. While we may not currently be where we want to be, this is a significant moment in our season. Our motivation is at its peak. It is vital that we do not experience defeat. The fear of failing is a strong driving force in my career, and losing is not something I am comfortable with, especially in this match.
In a match at St James’ Park, Luis Enrique’s decision to play four forwards backfired as his team was dominated in midfield and star player Kylian Mbappé was left without proper support. The PSG manager has learned from this mistake and has stated that their upcoming game against Newcastle is a crucial one, similar to a “cup final”.
While PSG are second in the group, a point behind Dortmund, they are only two in front of Newcastle and one ahead of Milan in third. With two games to go everything is delicately poised and such is Howe’s determination to reach the knockout phase that he abandoned his previous habit of training on Tyneside the day before European games in order to give his squad a feel of the Parc des Princes pitch. “We are trying something different,” Howe said. “You never know how these things might affect your performance.”
Seventeen-year-old Lewis Miley, who had a remarkable performance against Chelsea, is expected to begin playing in central midfield. However, Joe Willock, who is dealing with an achilles issue, will consult with a specialist on Tuesday.