Eddie Howe refuses to blame Kieran Trippier as defender’s error sees Newcastle United dumped out of cup by Chelsea

Eddie Howe refuses to blame Kieran Trippier as defender’s error sees Newcastle United dumped out of cup by Chelsea
Eddie Howe refuses to blame Kieran Trippier as defender’s error sees Newcastle United dumped out of cup by Chelsea

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Eddie Howe believes Kieran Trippier deserves support not criticism after his latest high-profile error contributed to Newcastle United being dumped out of the Carabao Cup.

Last season's runners up were beaten 4-2 on penalties by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, having been leading up until the 92nd minute, thanks to Callum Wilson's opener. However, with less than 90 seconds remaining Trippier's poorly executed header back to Martin Dubravka fell kindly for Mykhailo Mudryk, who tucked home an injury-time leveller to take the clash to penalties.

Trippier and Matt Ritchie then missed from the spot as the Blues secured a place in the last four of the competition.

And Howe was quick to defend the actions of Trippier, despite this being the latest in a recent string of individual errors from the 33-year-old.

"Tripps is an incredibly strong character," Howe said. "As I've said many times, a transformative signing, someone that has taken the group to a totally different level. He's been the heartbeat of that. When he's given us so much, now is our turn to support him and look after him the other. That's what we'll do.

"I'm sure he doesn't feel fantastic because he prides himself on his technical excellence & the quality of his defensive work.

"He's been a transformative signing for us and has glued the dressing room together. He's been the heartbeat of our performances.

"It's just one of those things that can happen in a football match. We defended so well, covered space well and limited them to half chances more than clear-cut chances. I thought we were a real counter threat in the first-half as well so lots of positives to take but we don't feel that right now.

"Collectively we're always together. We're always focused on the collective, not the individuals."

The cup exit represents the latest chapter in what has been a very challenging narrative for Newcastle in recent weeks. The Magpies have lost four games out of their last five in all competitions, a run not seen since the very early days post-PIF takeover.

"It hurts a lot [to be knocked out]," Howe added. "It's a very similar feeling to the end of the PSG game. The lads had committed so much, gave everything and we led for so long.

"We'd defended really, really well but we didn't get over the line. Whenever we concede we concede collectively not individually. I thought as a team defensively today we were excellent.

"Our shape was so good and we denied them really clearcut chances. We had to make some changes again due to injuries. I can't praise the players enough.

"We tried to refocus and forget the last part of the game and the fact that we were in a shootout to try to get to the semi-final. Penalty shootouts are always a lottery and we didn't quite win it then.

"I think we probably weren't as good technically as we would have wanted to be in the second half. In the first half we were a clear threat and scored our goal. But we lost our threat in the second half, even if we defended really well.

"We accepted our role in the game that we were going to defend and frustrate them. Like I say, we were a couple of minutes away from winning the game."

The Magpies face a trip to relegation-threatened Luton Town on Saturday, before hosting Nottingham Forest at St James' Park on December 26.

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