EDDIE HOWE has admitted Newcastle United’s mounting injury crisis is forcing him to make decisions he would otherwise look to avoid.

Newcastle’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League suffered a massive blow this evening as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.

They will almost certainly have to win both of their remaining games against Paris St Germain and AC Milan to finish in the top two in Group F, but will have to tackle those matches without a host of senior players who are nursing long-term injuries.


Tonight, Howe felt unable to start with either Anthony Gordon or Miguel Almiron after their weekend exertions against Arsenal, and opted to select Lewis Hall at left-back in place of the injured Dan Burn. Hall struggled throughout the first half and was replaced at half-time, with Kieran Trippier having to switch flanks to operate as an emergency left-back.

“I think we’ve lost the ability to make certain decisions,” admitted Howe, whose side were beaten by goals from Niclas Fullkrug and Julian Brandt. “In a sense, I’m being forced to make certain decisions and pick certain teams.

“Looking at Anthony Gordon, he played for 90 minutes against Arsenal and gave absolutely everything physically, and I think the turnaround for him was just too quick. I didn’t think he could start the match, so we had to use him as an impact player.

“In a different set of circumstances, you’d probably have liked to have played a different type of winger, but I’m not going to sit here and make excuses, that’s what we have.”

As was the case in last month’s home game against Dortmund, Newcastle rallied after falling behind this evening, only to fail to beat opposition goalkeeper Gregor Kobel. Their best chance by far fell to Joelinton, but the Brazilian was unable to find the target with a diving header despite being inside the six-yard box.

“It was a very similar game to the Dortmund one last month,” said Howe. “A frustration with our performance is knowing there is more in the tank to give. We’re better than that and can show a better version of ourselves than we did.

“I don’t think Dortmund have seen the best Newcastle and that always leaves a feeling of frustration. But we accept it, we’ve delivered it, and we have to look to the future now.”

Howe opted to take off Hall at the break after the full-back picked up a ninth-minute booking, but insists his decision should not be interpreted as a negative assessment of the youngster’s display.

“The booking contributed to my decision to take him off because we couldn't risk going down to ten men,” admitted Howe. “I thought he performed okay in the first half. We tried to give ourselves two substitutes to use when we needed them.”