Leeds United managed to hold Newcastle United to a point, but Liverpool now trail them by five points and the manager of Newcastle United, Eddie Howe, asserted that his team is prepared in case the Champions League qualification race goes down to the wire.
Rasmus Kristensen’s deflected effort saved a crucial point for the relegation-threatened side as the Magpies battled back against Leeds United and came close to completing the comeback at Elland Road. Manchester United reestablished a four-point lead over Liverpool, thanks to their 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers before the Reds’ trip to Leicester City on Monday.
By the time the game at the King Power Stadium is over, both Newcastle and Erik ten Hag’s team will have played one fewer game, giving them a slight advantage going into the season’s final two Premier League games.
In Howe’s first full season at St. James’ Park, the Toon Army are currently third, and he fervently believes that things are still in their control.
“Because of the atmosphere, the venue, the crowd, and the team’s confidence,” he said, “every time we play at home is an opportunity to win. This season, we have performed exceptionally well at home. We enjoy playing there.
“We have confidence that we can win those two games, but it’s never that simple, as today’s performance demonstrated. It was a really difficult match for us because Leeds had a new manager, a very challenging style of play, and an engaged crowd.
“We must be extremely upbeat. We’re disappointed that we didn’t succeed today. We had a great chance to win the game because we were in the lead and there wasn’t much time left to play, but we must accept the outcome,” he continued.
“We still have three crucial games left, so it’s still in our hands. It is sometimes necessary to reflect on how things were at the beginning of the season and how we might have perceived our current situation.
“That would have been taken by everybody at the club. We must have great optimism about what lies ahead because it is within our control.
“Possibly. Who knows? It’s difficult to predict anything in football,” he said when asked if the race for European qualification will go down to the wire. “You saw that today. We’re prepared for that if it does. That will be what we have to do.”