Howe fears time running out for Newcastle in top-four hunt

Magpies have gone five league games without victory

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe after the match against Manchester City. Reuters
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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe believes his team is running out of games to finish in the Premier League's top four as they look to return to winning ways in Sunday's home clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Newcastle have gone five league games without a victory and that has cost them a place in the top four. A League Cup final defeat by Manchester United only made things worse.

In what has still been an impressive campaign, Howe said it is vital to regain some momentum heading into the international break with games lined up against Wolves and then fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest next Friday.

Howe said: "There's a belief that we can win again and we need, very quickly, to fulfil that aim.

"I've never sat here and talked us up in terms of targets, top four. But I have talked us up in terms of what I believe we can achieve and the quality we have in our group and I'm not going to change now."

"Two big games (against Wolves and Nottingham Forest) because of where they are situated," Howe added.

"We have the international break afterwards and we want to go into that break really in a good moment.

"We're also running out of games. They are going to go so quickly, 14 left. We need points and we are determined to end this run of games we have had in a confident way. And we need to try and maximise every single one of those games and it's still in our hands."

Newcastle's recent lack of goals - they have lost each of their last three games 2-0 - has increased the clamour for £60million record signing Alexander Isak to start in place of England international Callum Wilson, who has scored only once in his last 14 appearances either side of the World Cup finals.

However, Howe issued a note of caution over a player who sat out for almost four months with a thigh injury over Christmas.

He said: "He wants to play, like every player. I feel he is there, but is he 100 per cent ready to play 90 minutes on a consistent basis? Probably not. I have been delighted by his attitude. I think he's in a good place."

Updated: March 10, 2023, 12:53 PM