It’s win-or-go-home time, folks. Or close to it, at the very least.
There will be a Champions League showdown taking place later today in the capital of France as PSG host Newcastle United for MD5 of the group stage inside the glorious Parc des Princes, each team considering this game a final and grappling for a crucial victory that helps them advance to the knockout rounds.
Positioned second and third in Group F, a mere two-point difference is all you need to know about this upcoming clash of titans.
Newcastle is coming off a weekend that served them a monster boost after demolishing Chelsea 4-1 in the Premier League.
PSG themselves destroyed Ligue 1 contenders AS Monaco last Friday by a final score of 5-2 that made no sense and showed how dominant Luis Enrique’s team can be when all things click for them.
The Parisian posh boys have won seven of their last eight matches, and Newcastle—currently three points behind group leaders Dortmund with a head-to-head disadvantage—can only hope to stop PSG in their tracks today in order to still dream of advancing in the UCL or at least finish third in the group stage, earning a place in the knockout rounds of the Europa League.
Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.co.uk
On the squad morale ahead of Tuesday night’s clash in the French capital:
“The mood of the group is very good, especially after the result at the weekend. That was a pivotal moment for us because, again, it can be very easy to feel sorry for yourselves or to focus on the players that aren’t with us.
“The lads did incredibly well to blank that out and perform at a high level to win against a very good Chelsea side.”
On the decision to train at the Parc des Princes on the eve of the Magpies’ penultimate UEFA Champions Group F fixture:
“A change of feel and a different routine. You never know how these things affect your performances and the results, you can never guarantee.
“We’re looking for an improvement from our two away games (in the Champions League) so that’s why we’ve done what we’ve done today.
“Some players might want that or need that. For us, it gave us a little bit more recovery time at home so that may be important with the schedule we have.”
On team news, including an update on Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff:
“We are pretty much as we were at the weekend, but just with a few absentees who can’t play in the Champions League. Joe (Willock) is seeing a specialist tomorrow, we are still unsure on him.
“Sean (Longstaff) has not traveled.”
On the challenge of facing Paris Saint-Germain, targeting a seventh consecutive home win across all competitions:
“They have quality in every position. Since we’ve played them, they have scored goals for fun so we will do our best defensively.
“Our structure in the team and defensive resilience has been good bar the Bournemouth game. We’re going to need to be every ounce as good as we can.
“It’s good to have all those mixture of emotions going into a match. We need to play on the edge. That is when we are at our best. They have quality in every position, we will need to be as good as we can be.
“We will need every ounce of motivation and energy to get a result. This is a defining moment in our Champions League campaign. We’re well aware of where we sit in the group and what can happen tomorrow so we are going to give it everything.”
On Anthony Gordon, who has netted five Premier League goals so far this term:
“He’s been in great form for us. When we signed him, we knew we were signing a player of huge potential with real ability and pace. I think the big thing for him is he’s been adding goals and assists.
“When you look at his last game, it was a brilliant goal he scored when he moved to the striker role. His cross for Jamaal Lascelles’ goal was the key moment that helped us secure three points.
“His work-rate off the ball has been at a really high level all through his time here but we really encourage him to keep adding those valuable goal contributions to us.”
On Nick Pope, who has recorded seven clean sheets across all competitions so far this season:
“He’s been huge for us. He’s brought a real confidence to the backline. We’re lucky to have some very good goalkeepers at the football club and Nick is quite unique with his skillset.
“The save he made in the first half against Chelsea was outstanding, probably under-highlighted in my mind until I saw it again how good it was. It’s those key moments, those big saves he’s made since he’s been here that have really elevated us as a team.
“He’s a very calm guy, very popular in the dressing room and a lot of fun to be around. On and off the pitch, I think he’s made a big contribution.”
On Lewis Miley, who provided an assist on his full Premier League home debut against Chelsea last weekend:
“There is every chance he will be involved again. I think he is ready. He has a great temperament for these occasions.
“The thing I loved about him after the game on Saturday, he was just the same Lewi. It was as if he hadn’t done anything and it was just another game for him. That is how he would need to approach this game.”
- Date: Tuesday, November 28th
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST / 15:00 EST
- Location: Parc des Princes, Paris (France)