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Eddie Howe's high expectations drive Newcastle to club-record unbeaten streak

By Patric Ridge

London, January 22: Eddie Howe says Newcastle United are reaching the "high expectations" they have set for themselves, despite a frustrating 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.

Newcastle had the better of Saturday's encounter at Selhurst Park, registering 16 attempts to Palace's six, and getting seven of those on target.

Ultimately, despite an expected goals (xG) of 1.4 to their hosts' 0.3, Newcastle could not make the breakthrough, though a point did send them into third in the Premier League, above Manchester United.

The draw also marked Newcastle's 15th league game without defeat (W9 D6), a run that stretches back to a 2-1 loss to Liverpool in August. It is the club's longest unbeaten streak in the top flight.

Asked if it was one point dropped rather than two points gained, Howe told BBC Sport: "I haven't had time to think about it. Is it? I don't know the answer to that.

"I'm really pleased with the team. Really tough place to come, we were ourselves and we had the moments and chances to score, we just didn't take them.

"Maybe not absolutely clear-cut, you have to score moments, but a lot of presentable opportunities, really good positions where we didn't quite get our final ball right.

"It's a frustration for the team, I can sense that. We've got high expectations of ourselves. I felt we dominated for long spells, they defended well."

Newcastle have now kept a clean sheet in each of their last six Premier League games, the longest such run for any team under an English manager since Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough kept seven consecutive clean sheets in the 2003-04 campaign.

They did rely on a fine save from Nick Pope to keep out a Jean-Philippe Mateta effort, however.

"I'm not too sure on these records, but it's nice to hear," said Howe. "Pope, I have to say, as much as we were dominant, made an incredible save and he’s been brilliant since he signed. That was a big moment.

"Every team has days like this, especially when the competition is so high. The most important thing is if we don't win, we don't lose."

Pope has kept 12 clean sheets this season, more than he managed in either of his last two campaigns at Burnley. Only in the 2019-20 season did the England international keep more (15).

At the other end of the pitch, Newcastle are looking for forward reinforcements after Chris Wood joined Nottingham Forest.

"We're actively looking, no guarantees, but we are trying," said Howe when asked about new signings.

One reported target is Everton winger Anthony Gordon, who did not feature as Frank Lampard's struggling side lost 2-0 at West Ham.

However, in his post-match press conference Lampard shrugged off the suggestion Gordon did not come off the bench at London Stadium due to that speculation.

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Story first published: Sunday, January 22, 2023, 8:42 [IST]
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