fbpx Skip to main content

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe hopes the frequent pain of falling agonisingly short during his playing days can help his side avoid complacency in their quest to reach Wembley.

The Magpies seized the initiative in their Carabao Cup semi-final with Southampton thanks to Tuesday evening’s 1-0 first-leg success at St Mary’s.

Howe endured repeated heartache as a defender with Bournemouth in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the club persistently missed out on a play-off spot in the fourth tier.

The 45-year-old admits those experiences have had a lasting effect and will prevent him from taking anything for granted going into next week’s decisive home leg.

“I’m not thinking of the final, I’m thinking of the semi-final,” said Howe.

“We’ve got a huge game to play. We respect Southampton and the threats they have in their team and we need to make sure we’re at our best.

“Unfortunately in my playing career I felt so many disappointments from potential moments of success that from my side I’m very calm, very level, knowing that there’s a lot of work to do.

“When I’d just broken into the first team, we missed out on the play-offs on the last day and we made a habit of doing that.

“For me, they’re really good experiences to look back on because you can be close and just miss out.

“I don’t want my players to experience that and I don’t want the club to experience that, so I will do everything in my power to make sure we’re ready for next week.”

Joelinton’s 73rd-minute strike earned Newcastle a narrow advantage as he brushed off a disallowed goal and a shocking second-half miss.

The Magpies were also indebted to a pair of fine saves from goalkeeper Nick Pope, who twice denied Che Adams, before Saints substitute Adam Armstrong had a potential equaliser ruled out for handball following a VAR review.

While Southampton face an FA Cup fourth-round tie with Blackpool before heading to the north east, Newcastle have a fixture-free week due to being knocked out of that competition by Sheffield Wednesday.

Howe welcomes the additional training time and believes being mentally prepared for another raucous St James’ Park crowd will be crucial.

“This week we’ll get a chance to get back on the grass and work on a few things that we need to improve,” he said. “I will be pleased to do that.

Newcastle took a step towards Wembley with victory at St Mary's
Newcastle took a step towards Wembley with victory at St Mary’s (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“We go on to next week and we know that the challenges that we face are probably in part mental.

“We’ll have the crowd support behind us, that will be hugely important, but we need to use it in the right way.

“Their support and passion for Newcastle is unrivalled and it will be great to experience the atmosphere for the next game.”

Southampton ended a frustrating evening with 10 men after defender Duje Caleta-Car was dismissed for a second booking four minutes from time.

Forward Armstrong, a Newcastle academy graduate and boyhood Magpies fan, says Saints will “have a right go” on Tyneside on Tuesday.

“The lads are gutted but it’s only 1-0, it’s not as bad as it sounds,” he told Southampton’s website.

“We’ll go to St James’ with something to believe, it’s going to be a great atmosphere next week. It’s a massive game, what footballers live for, semi-finals, big competitions, chance to get to Wembley.

“We can’t get too down, we’re still in it. We’re going to go there and have a right go.”