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Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says goalkeeper Nick Pope has been ‘brilliant since he signed’ for the club, with the shot-stopper crucial as the Magpies set a new club record.
The Magpies goalkeeper made his 12th clean sheet of the Premier League campaign in Saturday’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace.
It’s more than the England goalkeeper managed in either of his last two seasons at Burnley, with Pope only keeping more (15) in the 2019/20 campaign.
Pope helps Newcastle clinch club record
Pope pulled off many notable saves in the draw at Selhurst Park, including a fantastic stop from a Jean-Philippe Mateta effort.
The saves meant Newcastle have now kept a clean sheet in their last six league games, the longest such run for any team under an English manager since Steve McClaren helped Middlesbrough keep seven in a row almost 20 years ago. While manager Howe is not focusing on such records, he was grateful for his number one for helping maintain the superb run.
Moreover, Newcastle are now unbeaten in their last 15 league matches, their longest-ever unbeaten run in top-flight history. They have won nine of those and drawn the other six.
“I’m not too sure on these records, but it’s nice to hear,” said Howe, as per LiveScore. “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.”
Newcastle fail amid high expectations
Newcastle’s fantastic run stretches all the way back to a 2-1 loss to Liverpool in August. But Howe was not entirely satisfied with the point at Palace, saying his club did not quite meet their high expectations with the draw.
The Magpies currently sit third in the Premier League table, level on points with Manchester United, but ahead of the Red Devils thanks to a superior goal difference.
Newcastle did, however, lose a bit of ground on both second-placed Manchester City and league leaders Arsenal, who both picked up wins at the weekend. Arsenal defeated Man United 3-2 at the Emirates on Sunday, following City’s 3-0 victory over Wolves earlier in the day.
Asked if it was one point dropped for Newcastle rather than two points gained, Howe responded: “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 fans may, however, suggest that Howe had one eye on the club’s League Cup semi-final meeting with Southampton on Tuesday night.
They take on the Saints at St Mary’s Stadium in the first leg, with the second leg taking place at St James’ Park the following Tuesday.
Attention turns to the Carabao Cup semi final. 👊
🔜 #SOUNEW pic.twitter.com/f1xT3iRdYR
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 22, 2023