Eddie Howe was unable to suppress the feeling of injustice after his gallant Newcastle team were unhinged in stoppage time by a controversial penalty at Paris Saint-Germain.
Newcastle looked to be en route to a famous 1-0 win that would have given them control of their Champions League last‑16 destiny before their final group-phase tie at home against Milan. But the full-back Tino Livramento was penalised for handball towards the end when an Ousmane Dembélé cross hit him on the side and the ball then went into the back of his arm.
After Kylian Mbappé had converted the late spot-kick, there was an outcry among the pundits who covered the game. It led to an outcry among the pundits who covered the game. Jermaine Jenas called it “one of the most disgraceful decisions I’ve seen in a long, long time – not in any walk of life is that a penalty … there is a feeling of being cheated”, while Ally McCoist said Newcastle had been robbed.
Howe said McCoist had “summed it up better than I could because I am not allowed to … I share every thought you had there”.
The Newcastle manager was asked directly in his press conference about whether he had a sense of injustice. “Yes, I do,” he replied. “It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion. There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first.
“It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down looks completely different to the live event. The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, it is down by his side but he is in a running motion. I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us.”
Howe described the pressure that the crowd put on the referee, Szymon Marciniak, as “extreme”. He was visibly flat – although his team can still qualify with a win against Milan and if Borussia Dortmund do not lose against PSG. With the time at 11.45pm, it was pointed out to Howe that it was his birthday in 15 minutes. “Is it? I don’t know … I’ve lost track of days,” he said. “Ah, you’re right, it is. I had [forgotten] for a split second. It’s not my priority, as you can tell. But we’re still in it. We can’t forget that. We still believe.
“It looked like we had got there. Full credit to the players. As much as this is a huge deflating feeling, it could be another story in our season [against Milan].
“I have to control myself, that is my job and it doesn’t do any good to lose control of your emotions when I speak but I’m just devastated for the players. The way they performed in very difficult circumstances and what that decision does to the group … Our destiny is not in our own hands now and that is tough to take after being in that position.”