EDDIE HOWE admitted his Newcastle United side paid the price for some uncharacteristic sloppiness as they conceded an 89th-minute equaliser in today’s 2-2 draw at West Ham.

The Magpies fell behind in chaotic fashion in the first half as Jamaal Lascelles’ slack marking and Nick Pope’s poor positioning enabled Emerson to break free and cross for Tomas Soucek to score.

Newcastle regrouped impressively, and looked to be heading for all three points when Alexander Isak scored two goals in the space of five minutes either side of the hour mark.


However, with West Ham having struggled to create second-half opportunities, Howe’s side switched off as Mohammed Kudus drilled home a low finish with one minute remaining. Sean Longstaff was caught out of position charging upfield, while Sandro Tonali failed to block Kudus’ shot as the substitute was afforded far too much room on the edge of the area.

“I think there’s frustration,” admitted Howe. “Whenever you concede goals, there’s a frustration because I’m looking for perfection. I’m not going to criticise anybody, it’s always a team thing, but the first goal was surprising. I need to review that again to see where we didn’t quite get it right.

“The second goal is clearer for me in terms of what went wrong, I’ve seen it again once. I’d never sit here and critique individual decisions on the pitch, that’s never been my way, but we made mistakes in midfield that allowed them to have the space that they did. We’re disappointed with both goals – I think we could have avoided them.”

Nevertheless, having gone into the last international break on the back of three successive months, Newcastle have signed off for the next round of international matches in much better shape.

They have picked up ten points from their last four league matches, knocked Manchester City out of the Carabao Cup and claimed four points from their opening two Champions League games against AC Milan and Paris St Germain.

“It’s been a brilliant spell for us,” said Howe. “When you go back to the Brighton game, there was a response needed. We needed to come back after the international break and build our confidence back and get results.

“I think we’ve done that – and some. The character of the players was magnificent again. It would have been very easy, away from home and 1-0 down, to not have the response that we did in the second half (at West Ham). But it just shows what this team and this squad are made of.

“We have to be very pleased, overall, with the recent games, but now we need to rest, refocus and come back in the same vein of form, starting with Crystal Palace.”

Today’s game might have been even better had Isak claimed a hat-trick instead of shooting against the post after rounding West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

“He’s (Isak) played really well,” said Howe. “He’s gone round the goalkeeper and ended up with a really tight angle on his left foot. I think he’s done everything right, it was just one of those moments where the angle got too tight in the end.

“Looking back, having drawn the game, you’re probably thinking that’s one moment that maybe we’d like to replay again. It’s not a criticism of him though – I thought he was magnificent.”