Eddie Howe has discussed what he believes will be the ‘biggest challenge’ at Newcastle ahead of the club’s Champions League return next season.
Newcastle confirmed their place in next season’s Champions League after guaranteeing a top four finish with a goalless draw at Leicester in midweek.
The Magpies have exceeded expectations this season to secure a place in Europe’s elite and conclude their Premier League season at Chelsea on Sunday.
Newcastle will play Champions League football for the first time since 2002/03 next season and Howe said that matching the ever-increasing expectations will be the club’s biggest challenge.
“It’s not something at the start of season we could have predicted,” Howe said at his pre-match press conference.
“It is a tough league. The challenge we face is at the highest level and we have had to be very consistent. That is the biggest compliment I can pay the players.
“To do this achievement is not something taken lightly by me. It’s a massive moment for us. Living up to that expectation is going to be the hardest challenge.
Newcastle United have qualified for The Champions League for the first time in 21 years ⚪⚫ pic.twitter.com/gwZqOYNO8v
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 22, 2023
“We have overachieved and will have to keep overachieving. To match the expectations is going to be our biggest challenge.”
Howe discussed the importance of this summer’s transfer window as he looks to build a squad capable of competing both domestically and in Europe next season.
“We have to keep the majority of the squad together, they have earned the right to do that but we also have to be good in the transfer market,” he said.
“I am feeling good. It’s been a hectic few days. You get on to planning for next season straight away.
“The players will be leaving for their summer break after Sunday’s game, so there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes.”
Howe opened up on the achievement of Champions League qualification and said he was delighted to confirm the club’s place in the competition in front of the St James’ Park crowd.
“It is an incredible achievement. I am so pleased to be able to get it done in front of our supporters. The scenes after the match are something I will always remember.”
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