BRIGHTON: Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has admitted the Magpies rode their luck in their draw at Brighton – although he was pleased to get another Premier League point on the board.
The Magpies were lucky to play out a 0-0 draw on the south coast of England with Graham Potter’s Seagulls dominating the Magpies as both sides continued their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.
It was a far from vintage show by Howe’s players, but the United chief admits he was pleased with the spirit shown by the dressing room to grind out a positive, if arguably undeserved, share of the spoils.
“I am always disappointed not to win but very pleased with a point in the end, especially after the second-half,” he said.
“I thought it was a difficult second-half, Brighton played very well. We rode our luck at times but dug in and showed a great spirit and unity.
“We got a valuable point.”
Former Seagulls defender Dan Burn, as well as United keeper Nick Pope, were the stand out performers for the Magpies – and both had to be at their very best to keep Potter’s men at bay.
And while Pope was brought in to produce the kind of saves he did at the Amex Stadium, Burn was not added to the group to play left back, which he did at Brighton.
“I thought Dan did great today,” said Howe.
“It was very difficult. Although it’s a small transition across the pitch, it’s a huge one at the same time. He hadn’t played left-back for a long time but I thought he did very well against his former team.
“He put in one crucial block that saved us at a key time in the game.
“Overall, very pleased with his performance and his attitude to doing that position.”
Pope made three or four top class saves to deny Brighton three points on the day and further his England ambitions with a flashy show.
“I just thought he was top class and he has been since he came to the club,” said Howe.
“He is a very relaxed figure, very confident in the dressing room. He’s got a real calmness about him.
“The save from Adam Lallana was top class. Not just that save, he made a number of really important ones for us. I think he showed his importance to us this season.”
In a rare moment of forward threat, Callum Wilson did see a goal disallowed for a high foot in the opening exchanges. It was a controversial call from Graham Scott – and one Howe questioned.
“I’d need to see it again. My initial reaction was I thought it was harsh and given too quickly,” he said.
“The decision could have been let go to see what VAR said but it wasn’t to be. We had a number of moments in that first-half. We had some really good attacks, threatened on the counter-attack and in transitions we were very strong.
“For large parts, the last action wasn’t decisive enough. Unfortunately none of those attacks came to much.”
Meanwhile, Howe has explained the reason why Scotland international winger Ryan Fraser was not in the Newcastle squad for the game.
He said: “He had a slight back spasm on Thursday and Friday. He was close to making the game.”
Matt Targett, another absentee, is expected to be fit for next week’s visit of Manchester City to St James’ Park, having missed this one with a dead leg.