Newcastle 'desperate for next step' as they face Southampton in League Cup semi-final

Magpies travel to south coast on Tuesday for first leg at St Mary's Stadium

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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe says his team “are desperate for the next step” as they head into Tuesday's League Cup semi-final against Southampton.

The Magpies currently sit third in the Premier League after an impressive first half of the campaign that has seen them lose just once in 20 games.

But attentions turn to the first-leg at St Mary's Stadium as the club aim to move a step closer towards winning their first domestic silverware since lifting the FA Cup back in 1955. The second-leg takes place on Tyneside next Tuesday.

“We are delighted to be where we are but the semi-final itself isn’t enough for anybody,” said Howe. “You go into these games and to say you got into a semi-final means nothing, you want to get one step further. I know the players feel the same way.

“We want it to be a tie for the supporters. The only way we can guarantee that is by performing at our best. I think the away game will be a really good spectacle for the fans that travel. It’s on TV so everyone will have chance to watch.

“Then the home game will be a special night I think. Our job is to make sure we are in a good position going into that tie. We are desperate for the next step but we have to take our mind off that and focus on the process and the job and the job is to go to Southampton and perform well.”

On Saturday, Newcastle drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace which took their unbeaten run to a new club-record of 15 games, but Howe admitted the overwhelming feeling in the Selhurst Park dressing after the match was one of frustration.

“To go 15 games is hugely satisfying achievement. The disappointing thing is after the game on Saturday it didn’t feel that way, it felt like a defeat. The expectations are so high internally and externally and we are very motivated as a group that we were disappointed with the actual result, not the performance.

“We need to keep perspective of how well the players are doing and make sure they don’t feel any burden or any negativity.”

Next up is a Southampton side who sit bottom of the league but who managed to knockout Manchester City in the League Cup quarter-finals.

The Saints saw a three-match winning run in all competitions come to an end on Saturday when they lost at home to Aston Villa.

Updated: January 23, 2023, 11:27 AM
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