NEWCASTLE UNITED will discover their European fate this afternoon when Manchester City take on Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

If City triumph in the final to complete their second double in successive seasons, Newcastle will qualify for next season’s UEFA Conference League thanks to their seventh-place finish in the Premier League.

However, if Manchester United upset the odds and beat their city rivals, they will claim a place in next season’s Europa League, which will mean Chelsea taking England’s spot in the Conference League play-off round as they finished a place above the Magpies in the final league standings.


Newcastle returned to continental competition in the Champions League this season, but struggled to cope with the increased demands of combining European competition with the Premier League programme.

Nevertheless, Eddie Howe is desperate to see his side in the Conference League next term, even though it will mean additional fixtures for a second season in a row.

“We want to be in Europe,” said the head coach, who watched an extremely youthful Magpies line-up crash to an 8-0 defeat to an A-League All Stars team in the second game of their post-season trip to Australia yesterday. “We want those extra games.

“There’s not a single part of us that doesn’t want that. I’ve said that all through the season – our eyes have been on, ‘Can we qualify for Europe again?’

“There’s an adjustment needed to play in Europe, but we want that challenge again. You can’t underestimate the change from playing one game a week and being able to concentrate on the Premier League to playing in Europe and having all those extra games.

“It’s such a shift that you need from your players, and I think they’ve dealt with that really well this year. If we qualify for Europe then it’ll be more games, and we’ll obviously be playing on a different day, so it will be a different challenge again to the one that we’ve had this season.”