European Football a 'Driving Force' for Newcastle, says Howe

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is targeting European qualification © Andy Buchanan / AFP/File
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is targeting European qualification © Andy Buchanan / AFP/File
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European Football a 'Driving Force' for Newcastle, says Howe

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is targeting European qualification © Andy Buchanan / AFP/File
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is targeting European qualification © Andy Buchanan / AFP/File

Howe's men are sixth in the table, two places and three points better off than their hosts with two games to go for each team.

Chelsea are in seventh place on 57 points -- the same as Newcastle.

As it stands, the team in sixth place at the end of the season will earn a spot in the UEFA Conference League, the third-tier European competition.

But if Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final, the sixth-placed team would qualify for the Europa League and the side in seventh would enter the Conference League.

"Massive fixture for both teams," Howe said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, AFP reported.

"It's coming to the end of a long season for both clubs. We're desperate to do well in the game, we're desperate to finish as high as we can.

"We know European competition is there but it can also be a long way away if we don't get the results we need."

The Newcastle boss said his team were embracing the pressure after recovering from a poor start to the season and a damaging run of losses in December and January.

Howe, whose team flopped in this season's Champions League, said it was vital for Saudi-backed Newcastle to be in Europe.

"We need to be there as a football club," he said. "That's a driving force for us. We'll embrace the extra games, the travel, the experience, everything about the competition. We feel we're in a position to do it."

Howe said he was anxious not to underestimate misfiring United despite their poor form as Newcastle seek their first league double against the 20-time English champions since the 1930/31 season.

"We can't underestimate the challenge in front of us," he added. "That would be foolish. That would counteract everything that we need to be in this game.

"I think we don't underestimate Manchester United's qualities, we don't underestimate the magnitude of the game.

"We are preparing for a really tough match. We know it will be and we expect a good atmosphere."

Forwards Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson are doubts for the match at Old Trafford after suffering from illness and neither trained on Monday.

Howe said it was "fingers crossed" Isak would train on Tuesday.

On Wilson, he added: "We'll see. We haven't seen Callum yet, so we'll see if he's available to train today. If not, then I'm sure he'll be fit for Brentford."

Newcastle have confirmed they will travel to Japan for a pre-season tour to face Urawa Red Diamonds on July 31 and Yokohama F. Marinos at the Japan National Stadium three days later.



Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
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Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)

Spain is set to take a young squad to the European Championship, with teenagers Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi among the players picked by coach Luis de la Fuente on Monday.

Fermín López, the 21-year-old Barcelona forward, also was included in the list of 29 players announced by the coach, who will have to cut three names from the squad for the tournament in Germany. López has yet to make his debut with the national team.

“They have talent and motivation,” De la Fuente said. “They are very versatile players. Fermín will take a leap forward with this call-up. I hope that they will benefit and show all the potential that they have.”

Ayoze Pérez was another of the few surprises on the list, with the 30-year-old Real Betis forward getting his first call-up to the senior squad.

Other strikers included Atletico Madrid’s Álvaro Morata and Real Madrid’s Joselu, as well as the 16-year-old Yamal of Barcelona and 21-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao.

Along with Cubarsi, the 17-year-old Barcelona center back, other defenders included Madrid’s Nacho Fernández and 38-year-old veteran Jesús Navas of Sevilla.

Forwards Marco Asensio of Paris Saint-Germain, Pablo Sarabia of Wolverhampton, Brais Méndez of Real Sociedad and Gerard Moreno of Villarreal were left out.

Veteran Atletico midfielder Koke Resurrección also didn’t make the squad.

Spain will be aiming for a record fourth European Championship. It was drawn into Group B with Italy, Albania and Croatia.

“It’s a very difficult group but we are prepared,” De la Fuente said. “We will be fighting to be among the title contenders in the end.”

Spain will play warmups against Andorra and Northern Ireland before heading to Germany.