Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe relishing challenge of Champions League 'group of death'

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has urged his players to embrace the challenge of facing PSG, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan in the Champions League. Credit: TNT Sport/NUFC YouTube

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has urged his players to embrace the challenge of the Champions League after his side were drawn in the "group of death".

The Magpies will face PSG, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan in the competition's group stages with some of the world's best players set to grace St James' Park.

As a result, Newcastle are underdogs to progress to the knockout stages but Howe is not phased about the challenge facing his team, encouraging them to enjoy the experience.

"It took me a few seconds to process it!" he said when asked about the draw during his weekly press conference. "The group stage can be quite complex. I didn't realise it was that complicated!

"When the dust settles down you look at it with excitement. No negativity from us internally towards the draw. It's challenging but some great European games to experience and great places to visit for our supporters. When you add it all together, it's a great thing.

"It doesn't matter who we play. There has to be an attitude of no fear. No doubts. Let's embrace everything it will bring. It will challenge us hugely so no doubts about the size of the challenge. But bring it on! That has to be how we feel and that's what I encourage my players to think."

The first group-stage matches are scheduled on 19 and 20 September so Newcastle's immediate focus must switch back to the Premier League in the meantime.

The Magpies face Brighton this weekend as they look to respond to the disappointing 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

Sven Botman and Joelinton are injury doubts for the game at the Amex against a strong Brighton side.

Joelinton and Sven Botman are injury doubts for the weekend's game against Brighton. Credit: PA

Howe was keen to praise the Seagulls and their manager Roberto De Zerbi as he assessed the challenge awaiting his players.

"They're a very interesting team," Howe explained. "Roberto has done an amazing job. He's a very unique coach in the way he gets his team to play. The style of play is really good.

"He deserves a lot of credit. The players deserve a lot of credit for what they did last season and how they've started this one."

Newcastle's match against Brighton gets underway at 5:30pm on Saturday 2 September.

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