Eddie Howe has insisted that the Carabao Cup final won’t distract Newcastle as his side continue their push for a top four finish in the Premier League.
Newcastle progressed to a first domestic cup final in 24 years in midweek after a 2-1 win over Southampton, with the Magpies set to face Manchester United at Wembley on February 26.
Newcastle last won a major domestic trophy in 1950, but Howe insists the chance to end that wait for silverware will not serve as a distraction as he bids to lead the club to Champions League qualification.
Howe’s side are third in the Premier League table and host West Ham at St James’ Park this weekend.
“It isn’t difficult for me; my character is stable,” Howe said on refocussing on the Premier League at his pre-match press conference.
“I was immediately thinking about West Ham, but it is slightly more difficult for the players. They’ll have run on emotion on Tuesday.”
Newcastle strengthened their squad with the signings of Anthony Gordon and Harrison Ashby during the January window, with the duo paraded in front of a home crowd during the second leg win over Southampton.
Howe has confirmed both are available this weekend and has backed Gordon to thrive at the club after his £45m arrival from Everton.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 29, 2023
“Both are available and have trained well. They’ve done a couple of individual sessions around the game and trained with the group yesterday.
[Gordon] has experienced [white hot atmospheres] in his career. Goodison last year. He’s thrived in that environment. I think he will thrive in this one. It was a brilliant reception our supporters gave him and he’ll need that after a difficult last few months. For him to feel good, release of pressure, will be really positive for us.”
Howe discussed this weekend’s opponents with West Ham having endured a difficult start to the season. The Hammers have secured European football in each of the last two campaigns, but are just a point above the Premier League’s relegation places.
“I think it shows the strength of the Premier League. It can happen to anyone at any time. West Ham have got a top quality squad with some really good players, and they recruited well in summer,
David [Moyes] an incredible manager. His experience, the teams he’s managed, he is the perfect man for West Ham at this moment. That’s why every Premier League game is so elite, so hard and it’s why we’ll have to be at our best.”
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