For the first time in 20 years, Newcastle will be playing in the Champions League.

DailyStar || Shining BD

Published: 5/23/2023 4:40:13 AM

Eddie Howe praised Newcastle's "incredible" players as they earned a 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened Leicester on Monday to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

With fifth-placed Liverpool and Aston Villa drawing on Saturday, Newcastle only needed one point from their final two games to guarantee a Champions League spot.

At a jubilant St James' Park, Howe's third-placed team hit their goal on the first try.

Premier League - Newcastle United v Leicester City

After the final whistle, Howe and his players began to perform a long lap of honor as they soaked up the applause from the Toon Army.

It's actually a big relief, and it was a fantastic night. You must always dream and hope. Howe said, "But we didn't feel like we were prepared for the top four.

"After the relegation struggle from the previous season, the question was whether we could consolidate and improve as a team.

"I have to congratulate the entire squad because there has been a lot of physical demand on them. They have experienced the results of their own efforts.

Newcastle's incredible turnaround from Premier League relegation candidates to top four finishers in just 18 months is a testament to Howe's leadership and the financial strength of the club's Saudi-backed ownership group.

Although they were defeated by Manchester United in the League Cup, the Magpies also made it to their first domestic final since 1999 this year.

The Magpies will believe they can maintain their transformation into trophy contenders now that they are back among Europe's heavyweights after spending the previous 20 years in Premier League purgatory after Bobby Robson last led Newcastle into the Champions League.

The guys have been amazing for me. I cannot praise them enough. Howe said, "Their mindset, their attitude.

"I just want to express my gratitude for the chance to manage here. We've had a lot of success, which is satisfying.

Leicester is in danger of losing their top-flight status for the 12th time in their history, just seven years after their legendary Premier League title victory.

Birmingham would return to the Championship for the first time since 2014 if that matched the English record that Birmingham currently holds.

The third-from-bottom team under Dean Smith has won just one of its previous 15 league contests.

No matter what happens in Leicester's final game against West Ham, they are two points behind fourth-place Everton and will be eliminated if the Toffees win against Bournemouth.

"What we've done is pushed it to the final contest and forced Everton to win. We had to take that action. I take full responsibility for how we played, Smith said.

Premier League - Newcastle United v Leicester City

The decision by Smith to bench James Maddison and Harvey Barnes in order to be "harder to beat" came as Newcastle lost Joelinton to an injury sustained during the pre-game warm-up.

They almost lost Bruno Guimaraes, a fellow Brazilian who plays for Joelinton, after the midfielder's early caution for a studs-up challenge that smacked into Boubakary Soumare's thigh.

Throughout the entire game, Newcastle had 80% of the ball, but Leicester sat back to frustrate them.

Daniel Iversen, the goalkeeper for Leicester, almost gave Newcastle the first goal when he dropped a catch while being pressed by Dan Burn.

When the ball came loose, Callum Wilson pounced on it and fired against the post. Wilfred Ndidi then cleared his header from the ensuing rebound off the line.

A short while later, Miguel Almiron's half-volley following Fabian Schaer's knockdown for Newcastle struck the woodwork once more.

Just before halftime, Iversen misread another cross, giving Wilson a chance to head over from close range.

At the break, Smith substituted Maddison, and Iversen partially atoned for his mistakes by making an outstanding save to deflect Alexander Isak's powerful drive from the edge of the box.

Wout Faes of Leicester accidentally flicked a corner in Guimaraes' direction, and the Brazilian missed a clear opportunity when he headed against the post from almost on the goal line.

Nick Pope's save of Timothy Castagne in stoppage time gave Leicester their first opportunity to win it, but Newcastle held on to secure their place at the top table of Europe.

Shining BD