Eddie Howe hails ‘heroic effort’ as Newcastle grab lifeline with win at Leeds

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Newcastle manager Eddie Howe enjoyed the vital victory at Leeds (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe enjoyed the vital victory at Leeds (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe described his side’s 1-0 win at Leeds as a “heroic effort” after it lifted them closer to Premier League safety.

Jonjo Shelvey’s 75th-minute free-kick stunned the home crowd at a sold-out Elland Road and secured Newcastle just their second win of the season.

Howe’s players ran themselves into the ground to keep rejuvenated Leeds at bay and climbed to within a point of fourth-bottom Norwich with a game in hand.

Howe said: “To a man, everybody really contributed to that win today. There was incredible intensity in the game and there always is when you play Leeds.

“We had to be really good physically. We obviously ended up with a few injuries off the back of that, but it was a heroic effort in the sense that we committed everything to the game and I thought the players were outstanding.”

Howe confirmed Joelinton and skipper Jamaal Lascelles were withdrawn due to respective groin and hamstring injuries, while Paul Dummett, who made his second appearance of the season after a calf injury, was forced off through fatigue.

Former Bournemouth and Burnley manager Howe said the loss of his captain was a “huge blow” and underlined the importance of strengthening his squad during the current transfer window.

“As far as I know we’re not close to anything as I sit here now,” said Howe, who has signed Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood this month.

“(This win) might help us in the market, who knows? We’ve said we will be active right until the last day.

“We’re looking to improve the squad, probably more importantly now after today with the three injuries that we’ve suffered.

“I know everyone behind the scenes, having spoken this morning to them again, we’re working and we’ll give you news when we get it.”

Leeds dominated for long spells in their bid for a third straight league win, but were undone by their habit of failing to create clear-cut goalscoring chances after carving sides apart.

Boss Marcelo Bielsa said: “We had many moments to unbalance the game. We could unbalance them a lot, but we couldn’t convert.

“Normally, in the games where you could score and you don’t, some detail unbalances the game against you. I have the sensation that’s what happened.

“Even if in the last 15 minutes we failed to create enough danger, prior to that in the rest of the game we had done enough to be ahead.”

Newcastle defender Fabian Schar’s last-ditch tackle thwarted Dan James, who looked set to give Leeds an early lead.

Schar denied Leeds again when they went closest in the second half, with Jack Harrison’s goalbound shot deflecting off the Swiss centre-half before James failed to properly connect with the rebound.

Back-to-back wins had lifted Leeds nine points clear of the relegation zone, but they are now looking over their shoulders again.

Bielsa added: “It’s very frustrating. It was a game to show our differences, to have some consistency and it was a very important opportunity we couldn’t take advantage of.”

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