Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe is convinced his side’s first Champions League point at AC Milan could be an important one (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Eddie Howe feels the hard-fought point with which Newcastle emerged from their trip to AC Milan could serve them well as their Champions League campaign continues.
The Magpies, who needed goalkeeper Nick Pope to make five first-half saves to ensure they came away from San Siro with a 0-0 draw, managed to frustrate the hosts for long periods and open their Group F account on their return to European football’s top table after an absence of two decades.
Head coach Howe said: “I thought the crowd were very good for Milan tonight. It was a hostile atmosphere for us, the players had to adjust to that and that’s why I don’t think you can underestimate the performance and the point that we get.
“I think it will look better and better as time goes on because it’s a new experience for a lot of people – me included – tonight and hopefully we can grow from this into the tournament.
“Again, I’ll praise the players for the defensive qualities that they showed today. We know we can do better with the ball, but hopefully that will come.”
Pope’s heroics provided the foundation on a night when he had to be at his best to keep the Rossoneri at bay three days after keeping a clean sheet in a Premier League victory over Brentford.
Howe said: “I thought he was outstanding today. He was excellent against Brentford – although he didn’t have a lot to do – and his all-round game was at his highest level.
“It’s no coincidence, two big displays and two clean sheets from him which is absolutely crucial to us. He was a huge part of our success last year and no doubt he’ll be the same this year.”
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