EDDIE HOWE was delighted with Sven Botman’s defensive display in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham – but admits he was not surprised to see the Dutchman mark Hammers striker Michail Antonio out of the game.

Antonio did not really have a goalscoring opportunity at St James’ Park, with Botman once again combining effectively with Fabian Schar to help ensure Newcastle were able to extend their unbeaten league run to 16 matches.

Botman has been consistently excellent since moving to Tyneside from French club Lille in the summer, with his performances at centre-half a key factor in the Magpies’ superb defensive record.

The Dutchman initially had to bide his time after moving to England, with Dan Burn starting the season at centre-half, but has seized his opportunity in impressive fashion with Burn having been moved across to the left of the back four.

Howe said: “We’ve become accustomed to it with Sven. He’s been so consistent, regardless of who the opposition has been, he’s found ways to perform to such a high level.

“Antonio is a different type of striker – there’s not many of his type around – and I thought it was a really good battle between him and all of our centre-halves.

“I thought we contained him pretty well. The first half was probably the most dangerous West Ham looked on transitions especially, but second half, I thought we controlled him really well.”

Newcastle return to action at Bournemouth this weekend, and take on both the Cherries and Liverpool before heading to Wembley to face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final.