Newcastle United still have chance at 'special' end to the season, Eddie Howe says

Eddie Howe's side were beaten 4-1 by Arsenal at the Emirates. Credit: PA

Newcastle United still have the chance of a 'special' ending to the season according to head coach Eddie Howe.

The Magpies will face Blackburn Rovers as they look to book their place in the FA Cup quarter finals.

However, Howe says his side have plenty to put right following a crushing 4-1 defeat away at Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday evening (24 February) - and it was the nature of the defeat that upset him the most.

He said: "There was no one individual that let us down. We all, myself included, weren't at our best at Arsenal. When you're not at your best against the best sides in the division, you get punished and that's what happened.

"I think there has been performances where we've not been at our best, but you sort of understand, we were disjointed, we had players playing out of position, we didn't have any substitutes, we were relying on eleven players continually.

"This game, it was different. It was a different feel. We just didn't perform and there's no excuses to that and we have to take full responsibility."

Newcastle United suffered a humbling defeat at the hands of Arsenal in the Premier League. Credit: PA Images

The FA Cup represents the Magpies' only remaining chance of silverware, following their exits from the Carabao Cup and Champions League before Christmas.

Injuries, Financial Fair Play rules and Bruno Tonali's ban for betting offences have all put pressure on the squad but Howe insists this can be a season to remember for all the right reasons.

He said: "We're still in the throes of deciding where this season will end up. Nothing's decided either for or against us.

"For us, we need the players excited, ambitious, thinking brightly about the future not negatively. I've always got a positive outlook.

"The thing with football, I've been in it long enough to know that it changes very quickly, both for and against. That's why you have to commit to everything you do.

"You have to be at the best you can every day. Hopefully if you do, there's good things around the corner. This season could still be very special for us, but we need to make it happen."

The Magpies face a Blackburn side who sit 16th in the Championship and are now under the stewardship of John Eustace.

Kick-off at Ewood Park is at 7.45pm on Tuesday 27 February.

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