Newcastle’s Eddie Howe driven by ‘fear of failure’ against PSG

Eddie Howe said he has a “fear of failure” as Newcastle face Paris Saint-Germain in their “defining moment” in the Champions League at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Newcastle will be eliminated from the competition if they lose their Group F clash against Luis Enrique’s team in the French capital, despite an impressive start which saw them claim four points from their first two games, including a 4-1 win against PSG at St James’ Park.

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An injury crisis and Sandro Tonali’s 10-month suspension for breaching betting regulations have left Newcastle, who are bottom of the group, without 11 first-team players against PSG.

But speaking at his prematch news conference in Paris, Newcastle manager Howe said that his players have no option but to “play on the edge” in a game that will shape their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

“We need to play on the edge,” Howe said. “Every team is at their best when they have that emotion running through them and we need that energy because this is the defining moment of our Champions League campaign.

“We are fully aware of where we are and what we need to do. Our defensive structure and resilience has been good this season, so we need it to be every ounce as good as that against PSG.

“Fear of failure is a motivating factor in my career — losing doesn’t sit comfortably, no matter what the occasion and of course that applies to this game.

Eddie Howe and Newcastle will be eliminated from the Champions League with a loss against PSG on Tuesday. Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“I don’t think the motivation could be any bigger for us. We want to be in [the Champions League] as long as we can be and that makes tomorrow a huge moment in our season.

“We have a plan and we will try to get ready to execute it and be ready for the game.”

Newcastle flew to Paris on Monday in time for the players to train under the lights at Parc des Princes after Howe addressed the media.

That approach is a change from the club’s routine for the trips to AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund — a draw and loss, respectively, earlier in the group — and Howe said the intention is to help spark a change of fortune after failing win either of those previous fixtures.

“It’s a change of routine,” Howe said. “You never know how it affects performances, but we are looking for an improvement on the two away games so far, that’s why we’ve come here earlier today.

“Some players might want that [change] or need it, but doing it this way also gives us more recovery time at home and that is important with the schedule we have back home.”

A Newcastle win against PSG will tee up a home game against Milan on matchday six that would give Howe’s team the chance of qualifying from the group. But Howe said the priority is to take care of business in Paris before contemplating the importance of the Milan fixture.

“It’s difficult to predict what you’ll need, whether we need two wins or not,” he said. “We can only do what we can and worry about Milan afterwards. It’s just imperative that we don’t lose this one.”


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