Newcastle United are “dangerously close” to being unable to field a full team for their Premier League trip to Everton on Thursday, manager Eddie Howe said.
Newcastle were only able to name eight substitutes, including two goalkeepers, instead of the maximum nine for Monday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United, with the squad depleted due to injuries and Covid-19 cases.
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They then saw forwards Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin leave the field due to injury and their status for Thursday’s game is unclear.
“The lads gave everything but we are thin on the ground in terms of bodies,” Howe told Sky Sports. “These are difficult moments for us. I believe it’s 13 plus a goalkeeper (players required for a game to proceed). We’re going to be dangerously close to that number.
“Callum’s injury doesn’t look good. Just the way he went down with no one around him. Allan, I don’t think is as serious.” Newcastle have won only one of their eight games under Howe and are second bottom of the Premier League.
Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick was unhappy with his team’s lacklustre performance in the draw struggling Newcastle.
Newcastle missed a number of good chances and only a majestic performance by goalkeeper David de Gea spared Rangnick his first defeat as Manchester United’s boss.
“I didn’t like the performance at all,” the German told Sky Sports as he stretched his unbeaten run in all competitions to four games. “Today we didn’t control the game apart from a few moments. It’s all about energy, physicality and who wins the second ball. In all those areas we weren’t at our best. The good thing is we got a point but the performance needs to be better.”
The visitors looked uncomfortable every time Newcastle came forward and Rangnick, who started his tenure with 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich City, defended his decision to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation against Newcastle.
“Today it was not a question of formation — it was a question of how aggressive we were,” he said. “You have to be ready and able to win those direct duels and this was not often the case.
“If you want to be competitive here you have to get physical and this was not the case in many parts of the game. We shouldn’t look for excuses — we need to be better and get more physical.” Newcastle manager Howe rued his team’s missed chances although he praised Saint-Maximin, who gave the home side an early lead before Edinson Cavani levelled.
“We are very disappointed as we deserved to win,” he said. “The lads executed the game plan brilliantly. I thought we were very good and didn’t deserve to concede.
“Naturally with someone like (Saint-Maximin) him you want him to have the ball all the time. When he’s on song there’s nobody quite like him. Key to our success is trying to feed him as much as we can.”