Newcastle United will try and have a “magical European night,” per Magpies manager Eddie Howe, as NUFC will put an end to their Champions League group stage games on Wednesday when they’ll be hosting AC Milan.
This pivotal game will seal the fate of Newcastle in Europe with all three potential outcomes—reaching the knockout stage, dropping to the Europa League, and crashing out of all continental competitions—still in play.
A win would ensure Newcastle’s progression to the knockout stages from Group F or they clinching of a place in the Europa League knockout round if BVB and PSG pact a positive result for both sides. A loss would eliminate Newcastle from European competition.
Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.co.uk
On the prospect of Wednesday night’s game...
“We are very positive going into the game. It has all the hallmarks of being a very special night. All we can do is to try and win the game and give our best performance.
“We want to make this a magical European night.
“Being under the lights here, in the Champions League, is always very special - something to play for, something to gain.
“We are where we are, in the position we are in. We are looking to improve on our last two performances. The lads are very focused. We want to do everything to progress.”
On the availability of Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson, who made their returns from injury at Spurs on Sunday...
“Sean is a consideration, but we have a lot of information to digest, with Callum as well.
“I have some big calls to make for the first time in a long time, thankfully. It was great to see them both back involved but we will need to make the right decision for the team.”
On his team’s confidence ahead of the match, and the permutations around Wednesday’s game...
“To be here with some kind of destiny in our hands - European football still in our hands - I think we would have taken that at the start of the group.
“We can control our performance tomorrow and give everything we can to try and win. We will respect our opponents - we played well in Milan, it was a really open game. They are a good team, but we are going into this one confident.
“We are desperate to stay in this competition first and foremost, and if we can’t then stay in Europe.
“Our intention is to do everything we can to try and win the match. We worked so hard to get to this position in the first place - we gave everything last year to try and achieve this level of football. We do not want to give it away lightly.”
On the backing his side will receive from Magpies fans on Wednesday night...
“They have been there for us this season. We are going to need every voice, every person can make a difference for us.
“We need to create an atmosphere - the supporters have never let us down at home, they have really driven us on, in tight games they have really given us the ability to carry on. We are going to need that again.”
- Date: Wednesday, Dec. 13th
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST / 15:00 EST
- Location: St. James’ Park, Newcastle (England)