Howe taking plenty of positives despite frustrating Newcastle campaign

By Sports Desk May 19, 2024

Eddie Howe was keen to look at the positives after Newcastle United secured seventh place in the Premier League on Sunday.

Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes were among the goalscorers as Newcastle won 4-2 at Brentford to finish their Premier League campaign.

The victory ensured a seventh-place finish, and a Manchester City victory over Manchester United in next Saturday's FA Cup final will confirm Newcastle's place in next season's Europa Conference League.

While this season did not quite live up to the heroics of last term, which saw the Magpies finish in the Champions League spots, Howe still feels it has been a successful campaign.

"It summed up our season," Howe told BBC Sport. "We weren't totally secure at the back, but great credit to the players. They've done their job - now we wait and see.

"We anticipated after losing against Manchester United that our control of the [European] situation had gone. It's never a nice situation, but whatever happens, happens.

"We have issues to solve defensively. If we can do that, next season could be another season of really strong performances. This was a season that could have been better, but a good season overall.

"We're a really united club. I think we're still moving forward, so there's a lot to be positive about."

Related items

  • Italy 2-1 Albania: Defending champions overcome record-breaking setback in Group B opener Italy 2-1 Albania: Defending champions overcome record-breaking setback in Group B opener

    Italy opened their Euro 2024 title defence with victory after overcoming a record-breaking early strike from Albania to triumph with a 2-1 comeback win at Signal Iduna Park.

    The reigning European champions were shocked early on when Nedim Bajrami hammered home after just 23 seconds for the fastest goal in European Championship history.

    Alessandro Bastoni soon levelled with a routine header, however, before Nicolo Barella's fizzing finish muted Albania's short-lived celebrations in their first Group B encounter.

    The Azzurri, champions just three years ago at the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, never appeared troubled after the interval as Italy moved level on points with Spain, who hammered Croatia 3-0 earlier on Saturday.

    Backed by thousands of Albanian supporters in Dortmund, Bajrami stunned the defending champions with his record-breaking strike after less than 30 seconds of action.

    A sloppy Federico Dimarco throw-in proved Italy's undoing as Bajrami powered into the area before launching into the top-right corner past the helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma.

    Yet Luciano Spalletti's side soon turned things around with two goals in the space of six first-half minutes.

    Lorenzo Pellegrini lifted a well-worked short corner towards the far post, where Bastoni headed in with ease, before Barella arrowed a perfect half-volley past Thomas Strakosha from the edge of the box.

    Matters almost worsened for Sylvinho's team, but Strakosha produced an expert reflex save to push Davide Frattesi's deft lob against the left-hand post and away from danger.

    A far more subdued opening to the second half followed as Albania dominated possession without reward, though Federico Chiesa went close for Italy when driving a rocketed effort wide of the top-left corner.

    Donnarumma was, however, required late on to keep Italy's lead intact, racing out to deny Rey Manaj's chip, though somehow the referee gave a goal-kick in the dying seconds.

    Youthful Italy respond emphatically

    An eye-catching Bajrami strike ensured Italy conceded the opening goal in successive European Championship games for the first time since a three-game run between June 2004 and June 2008.

    Yet that fast start proved to matter little as Spalletti's side, who are attempting to become just the second team to win back-to-back Euros after Spain (2008, 2012), roared back with an emphatic response.

    Bastoni headed in just his second international goal on his 24th appearance, with both strikes coming on German soil, before Barella's 10th goal for Italy returned Spalletti's men to their expected course.

    A dominant performance followed with a showing belying their youthful age as Italy fielded their youngest starting line-up (26 years and 287 days) at the Euros since June 1988 – against the Soviet Union in the semi-finals (25y 2d).

    Albania's Azzurri struggles persist

    Bajrami's goal was just Albania's second ever at the European Championships and shattered the record for the fastest strike in the tournament's 64-year history.

    Yet it was a familiar tale for Sylvinho's side, who have now lost their last five meetings with Italy across all competitions after a remarkable turnaround in the first half.

    Albania will be desperate to respond when they meet Croatia on Wednesday, aiming to add to their sole Euros victory that came in a 1-0 win over Romania in the final group game of the 2016 edition.

  • Kane dreams of Euro 2024 success as England captain aims for 'pinnacle' moment Kane dreams of Euro 2024 success as England captain aims for 'pinnacle' moment

    Harry Kane dreams of winning a major tournament with England to mark "the pinnacle of anyone's career", with the Three Lions star hoping to end his trophy drought at Euro 2024.

    Bayern Munich striker Kane will lead his country out once more when Gareth Southgate's side open their European Championship campaign against Serbia on Sunday.

    Having fallen short in the delayed Euro 2020 final against Italy, as well as World Clup semi-final elimination to Croatia in 2018, Kane is without international glory – and his lack of club success is much discussed, too.

    Kane acknowledged his own shortcomings as the England captain aims for national success in Germany.

    "I love playing for my country," he said at Saturday's pre-match press conference. "It means the world to me every time I step out onto the pitch wearing that shirt.

    "To win a major tournament with England would be the pinnacle of anyone's career. That's the aim.

    "For me personally, the trophies haven't quite happened yet, but it just makes me more determined and more hungry to go out there and do that.

    "It starts with this summer, where we have a good opportunity. We have a lot of hard work in front of us, but that opportunity is there and I'm looking forward to making it happen."

    Kane is England’s record goalscorer overall (63 goals) and their most prolific player at major tournaments (12 goals at World Cup/Euros).

    He scored or assisted in all seven of his starts in qualifying (eight goals, two assists) and heads into this tournament after a fine club season with Bayern.

    The former Tottenham forward scored 36 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for the most prolific debut campaign in the competition's history.

    Yet international success is all that matters over the next month for Kane.

    "Every tournament brings different expectations," Kane added. "We've earned the right to be classed as one of the favourites.

    "In past tournaments, we've done a lot of things well and done the country proud but, ultimately, we're here to win it and there'll be nothing better for us and the nation itself than if we do that."

    As for his own success, individual achievements are far from Kane's priority.

    "Back in 2018, the Golden Boot was an amazing achievement, but that's always a consequence of winning games and trying to win the European Championship, which is what we're trying to do," he said.

    "If I win the Golden Boot along the way, fantastic as I'm helping my team.

    "We have some great goalscorers in the team, players who are on form, who've had fantastic seasons, so now it's about taking that into a major tournament." 

  • Brighton announce Hurzeler as new head coach Brighton announce Hurzeler as new head coach

    Brighton have announced that Fabian Hurzeler has become their new head coach, a club statement confirmed on Saturday. 

    Hurzeler, 31, signed a three-year deal and arrives at the Amex having led St Pauli to the Bundesliga 2 title last season by winning 20 of their 34 matches.

    “From the start of the process to appoint our new head coach, Fabian was always a standout candidate and one who had caught our attention with his exceptional work at St Pauli over the past eighteen months," Chairman Tony Bloom said. 

    “He has a style of play that aligns with how we want a Brighton & Hove Albion team to play, and I’m confident it is one our supporters will appreciate and enjoy.

    “Fabian also has an excellent coaching pedigree and has worked with the German federation at various age group levels. We are really excited to start working with Fabian to prepare for the upcoming season.”

    Brighton's rise under the stewardship of De Zerbi has been admired by many, with the Italian helping the club qualify for Europe for the first time in their history at the end of the 2022-23 campaign. 

    While the Seagulls finished just inside the bottom half of the Premier League table last season, they reached the last 16 of the Europa League, with Hurzeler looking forward to building on the solid foundations laid by the man before him. 

    "The club has made incredible progress over the last few seasons and the aim is to continue building on that success," Huerzeler said.

    "I am relishing the opportunity to coach in the Premier League, and I can't wait to meet the players, staff and, of course, the fans."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.