Eddie Howe: St James' Park 'crucial' to Newcastle United's Champions League hopes vs PSG

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has been speaking to the media ahead of his side's Champions League clash against PSG. Credit: PA/ITV

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has stressed the importance of his side's home form as Champions League football returns to St James' Park for the first time in 20 years.

The task facing the Magpies could scarcely be much tougher as Ligue 1 champions PSG make the trip to the North East boasting the talents of one of the world's best players - Kylian Mbappe.

Howe has admitted that the St James' Park crowd could be key as his team look to record their first win in the competition.

St James' Park will host Champions League football for the first time in 20 years. Credit: PA

"It's going to be crucial for us," the Magpies' boss said when asked about his team's home form. "The away games in this competition are very difficult and we experienced that in Milan.

"I know we didn't hit the heights of our best performance but I think our success in the competition will be based off what we do at home where we have the backing of our supporters.

"I think it will be a really great moment for the club as a whole. To be back in the Champions League, at home, one of those magical nights in our stadium - I'm really looking forward to it."

Newcastle will have to overcome several injury issues to get the better of their French opponents. Sven Botman and Joe Willock remain absent while the match is also likely to come too soon for Callum Wilson and Joelinton.

It will require a whole team effort to beat the Parisians with Mbappe naturally grabbing the attention. However, Howe has stressed the need to work as a unit to prevent the Frenchman from having any easy opportunities.

Newcastle must contain the threat of Kylian Mbappe. Credit: PA

"It's very difficult to combat him," Howe explained. "Our defensive record has been strong, our team performance has been strong. It's never down to one player. I don't believe in man-marking. We need to do well in our units, nullify the space and hopefully keep the best player in the world quiet."

Mbappe likes to operate from the left, a trait that will regularly see him go directly up against Newcastle right-back Kieran Trippier. The England international admits he is looking forward to the challenge as he backed his side to cause PSG problems.

"This is football. This is the level you want to play at," he said. "You want to be against the best players and the best teams.

"Paris have got unbelievable players. Mbappe is one of the best in the world but they've got quality all over the pitch.

"But on our day we can hurt anyone."

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