Newcastle United’s League Cup victory over Manchester United with a second-string side has lifted the whole squad as it turns its attention back to the Premier League and the visit of Arsenal, manager Eddie Howe said on Friday.
Newcastle won 3-0 at Old Trafford, and Howe was pleased to see a heavily rotated starting lineup repay his faith in them.
“It was great to be able to give everyone an opportunity, and I thought they responded magnificently,” Howe told reporters ahead of Saturday’s game against Arsenal.
“It was a brilliant team effort. I thought the spirit, determination and collective mindset were at the highest level. We are in a good place mentally after the win. The whole squad will be lifted by that performance.”
A stern test awaits, however, with Newcastle welcoming Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to St James’ Park. Since 2010, Newcastle has beaten Arsenal only twice in 24 matches in all competitions, losing 19 times.
Last season’s runner-up Arsenal is second in the standings and along with leader Tottenham Hotspur, is unbeaten after 10 games. Newcastle is sixth.
“Arsenal last year, it speaks for itself what they achieved. I think they have moved on from last year, mentally moved on and stepped it up. They are unbeaten, it is a really big test of our credentials,” Howe said.
“We are going to have to find ways to make it very difficult for them, but we are looking forward to the game.”
Howe said Matt Targett will have a scan on a hamstring injury, and the manager confirmed Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali is allowed to train with the team despite his 10-month ban for breaches of rules on betting on matches.
“He has started that lonely process, although he is with his teammates. We’ve played so many games. At the moment, [a] lot of sessions have been individual,” Howe said.
“But he has started that journey into the 10 months, so it’s a mental test for him. Sandro has to try to come through it as a better player.
“It is our objective as coaches to try to help him, but it’s going to be difficult for him.”
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