Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admits he does not have the strength in depth required after crashing out of the FA Cup at Sheffield Wednesday.
Howe made eight changes to the side that drew with Premier League leaders Arsenal on Tuesday and saw them dumped out of the competition by a League One side for the second season running in one of the shocks of the third round.
Josh Windass’ second-half double set Wednesday up for one of their best results in recent years, with the Magpies unable to force a replay after Bruno Guimaraes got them back in it.
Howe had turned to Guimaraes, Miguel Almiron, Joe Willock and Kieran Trippier to try and rescue the tie but they came up short.
“We are aware that we don’t have the deepest squad of any team in the Premier League, we are low on numbers but we feel high on quality,” Howe said.
“Injuries will dictate how stretched you feel. We gave an opportunity to a lot of players that haven’t played a lot of minutes this season, I thought there were positives and negatives within their performances.
“You pick your team looking ahead to future games. We have a very quick turnaround, late kick-off today and then Leicester on Tuesday (in the Carabao Cup). I felt I saw some fatigue in the lads at Arsenal, it was a great performance, I thought it would be unwise of me to pick the same team for this game and Leicester as well.”
Things might have been different had Newcastle not come up against Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson in the form of his life as he twice denied Alexander Isak in the first half and then made brilliant stops from Elliot Anderson and Jacob Murphy to keep Newcastle at bay.
In the final 10 minutes, Dawson was not even forced to make a save as Chris Wood skied a sitter to make it 2-2 and Howe knew the missed chances were costly.
“It was a disappointing result for us, I thought we gave it our all until the end, we created chances to score and we didn’t take them,” Howe added.
“Their goalkeeper played very well, it was always going to be a difficult game coming here, we needed to get our noses in front and we didn’t and that made it very difficult.
“We were desperate to win the game and I picked a team that I thought was strong enough to do that at the start of the match and the moments and chances were there for us in the first half to take the lead, we just weren’t clinical in front of goal and that remained all the way through the second half as well.”
For Wednesday this result continues their feelgood factor as they look to supplement their League One promotion push with a cup run.
And boss Darren Moore says it demonstrates the magic of the FA Cup.
“Yeah, it shows the FA Cup is still alive,” he said. “We spoke before the game about what it brings, two clubs together in the pyramid, it was an excellent cup tie and I am really pleased the game lived up to what it was on paper.
“Sheffield Wednesday against Newcastle, both teams on a good run in their respective leagues.
“What pleased me most was that we had a gameplan that we had been working on in the week, it was to engage them high up the pitch, not sit back and allow them to pick us off. It was a brave decision by us and it worked.
“Josh Windass will get the headlines, it was two exceptional goals. But I thought overall it was a solid performance.”