LUTON: Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe refused to make excuses for his side’s Luton Town loss, described by Magpies’ legend Alan Shearer as ‘”awful”.
Newcastle made it five defeats in the last six in all competitions, suffering a 1-0 reverse at the Premier League strugglers. Former winger Andros Townsend got the only goal of the game.
And following the defeat, which saw Howe’s side drop to seventh in the table, Shearer took to social media to criticise what he’d seen from his former club. On X, previously known as Twitter, Shearer initially said: “The Toon have been awful. Luton brilliant and should be winning by more goals.”
The 260-goal record Premier League goalscorer then added: “The Toon second best in all areas today. Intensity. Desire. Physicality. Well done Luton. Deserved the points.”
Howe, though disappointed, stopped short of reaching for excuses, even though his squad continues to be ravaged by injury. He said: “I think I’ve got to choose my words carefully. We have an incredible group and I was disappointed with the first half performance, I thought we needed more, we needed more emotion in our performance, more energy in our performance. I’m not going to say any more than that really but I think the players felt that as well.
“We were well aware we were below our levels but second half was a lot better and we couldn’t force the goal we needed and the mistake in the first half has cost us the match.”
The disparity between the Magpies’ home and away form is stark. While they sit second in the table for points at St James’ Park in the Premier League, they’re 16th in the table when it comes to results on their travels.
Their total of seven losses in the top flight is also a real contrast to where they were this time in 2022, when by the end of December they’d lost just once in the Premier League.
“It has been a concern,” said Howe when discussing the Magpies’ away day blues.
“There have been reasons behind that but I don’t want to make excuses or live in that world. We have to change ti ourselves with what we have available.
“We haven’t won enough from losing positions and that is the hallmark of a really top team.
“I think every season you have difficult moments and difficult spells. When we first came to the cub that was an incredible difficult time for us when we were battling relegation. We are now in a slightly different moment where we have had such an intense period of games with a very. Very small squad.
“The whole squad has done incredibly well to this point but we are certainly aware we need consistent result and that is what we are striving for.”
Fortunately for Howe, Newcastle’s next Premier League fixture is back on Tyneside — and former Saudi Pro League boss Nuno Espirito Santo brings his Nottingham Forest side north.
Howe said: “Regardless of home and away we are desperate for another fixture very quickly and the Luton game to the back of our minds.
“Our home form has been really strong. It is a great environment for us to play and express ourselves.
“It’s a really tough game as well and we are looking forward to it.
“Whenever you play a team that has changed manager that is an interesting dynamic. Potential changes tactically, so we are going to have to be well prepared for the match.”