Newcastle were eliminated from the Champions League, and Europe for the season, after losing 2-1 at home to AC Milan.
The Magpies needed to win to stand any chance of progress, and took the lead on the night through Joelinton’s stunning strike. With Borussia Dortmund leading Paris Saint-Germain in the other fixture, Newcastle were heading through on head-to-head results against PSG, but Milan turned the game around at St James’ Park.
Ex-Chelsea forwards Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic combined for the equaliser, before Samuel Chukwueze came off the bench to score a winner. The win means Milan finished third, above Newcastle, and claim entry to the Europa League.
PSG – who equalised through Warren Zaire-Emery in Germany – progress to the last 16 alongside group winners Dortmund. A win would have been enough to send Newcastle into the knockout rounds.
“I thought there were some really good bits, we were dominant at times, but probably needed the second goal. We didn’t defend the two goals well enough,” Newcastle manager Howe reflected to TNT Sports.
“It was very much end to end. Both teams were desperate to win. We wanted to win the game and we were trying to head for the Champions League so we had to be brave.
“They had to be brave. It made for a very good game. We did create chances and we’re absolutely devastated not to go through.”
Howe said Newcastle had learned ‘so much’ from the club’s first Champions League campaign since 2002/03.
“The value of the squad first and foremost, that’s what’s exposed us, the fact we haven’t had the ability to utilise the squad we’ve created. We’ve gone into games very limited in what we can do and that hasn’t helped us.
“You always have to use disappointment – the setbacks – as motivation and fuel for your fire to make sure you continue to achieve.
“We’ll go back to the Premier League and try and do as much as we can to be consistent and stay up there.”
It’s the first time two Premier League teams have finished bottom of their Champions League group in the same season, after Manchester United’s elimination on Tuesday.