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EPL: Newcastle boss Howe says he must shut out the ‘noise’

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Eddie Howe said on Friday he must shut out the “noise” as he prepares to take charge of his first match as Newcastle manager, weeks after the Saudi-led takeover of the club.

The former Bournemouth boss is seeking to end his struggling club’s wait for a first Premier League win of the season against Brentford on Saturday.

Howe was hired earlier this month as Newcastle’s wealthy new owners seek to transform their club after years in the wilderness and he is under huge pressure to deliver.

But the 43-year-old said he would not lose sleep.

“I have to separate myself from the noise because the noise isn’t going to help me in the job and my dealings with the players, so I think that’s going to be one of the most important factors for me,” Howe said.

“I have always prided myself with my work with the players, my interactions with them, the way that I have tried to improve them.

“That can’t change despite the bits of my job now, the demands on my time that are going to be huge. But I have to prioritise, so I think that’s going to be a key thing for me.”

Howe admitted the Newcastle role was a big challenge – the club has not won major silverware since 1969.

“You can sense that it’s a huge job,” he said. “There’s a real yearning from the supporters to be successful, to produce a team that they enjoy watching – that’s the big challenge ahead for us.”

Howe, who has been out of work since he left Bournemouth in August 2020, said the start of his tenure, during an international break, had been a whirlwind.

“I can say with all honesty I have seen the training ground and I have seen my hotel,” he said.

“I haven’t seen Newcastle in the light yet – tomorrow will actually be the first day that I step into Newcastle when it’s daylight.”

Read Also: Tottenham blow as star suffers hamstring injury on WCQ duty

The club have collected just five of the first 33 points on offer in the Premier League this season and are five points from safety but it is a challenge that does not faze Howe.

“At Bournemouth, every year we were in a relegation battle,” he said. “For the first four years, we achieved our objective and stayed in the Premier League.

“So I’ve been in the position many, many times. It’s not nice, it’s not enjoyable to be fighting relegation.”

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Rennes hit out at decision to postpone clash with Tottenham

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Rennes have released a statement following the news their Europa Conference League clash with Tottenham on Thursday would be postponed.

With Spurs confirming in a statement of their own earlier on Thursday, the Ligue 1 have now responded on their club website.

“Following the press release published by Tottenham at 9 p.m. this Wednesday, Stade Rennais FC would like to clarify the following facts,” it read.

“In a video conference at 7.45 p.m. between representatives of UEFA, Tottenham and SRFC, the Spurs director of football announced her intention not to play the UEFA Europa Conference League game. Thursday evening. Unilateral decision which has not been confirmed by UEFA in any way.

“The Tottenham representative did not want to announce the number of her players affected by the Covid when the rule states that a match must be played as long as the team has 13 outfielders and a keeper.

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Read Also: UCL:  Atalanta-Villarreal tie postponed due to snow

“She argued for a decision by the English authorities without advancing any official document. As the match was not officially canceled by UEFA, Stade Rennais FC upheld their decision to play.

“Faced with this “London fog”, the SRFC reserves the right to approach UEFA. This lack of fair play is all the more glaring as Tottenham had confirmed by email that the match would be held at the start of the afternoon before warning Rennes of their intention not to play just after their landing in London City.”

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Chelsea striker Kerr bowls over pitch invader

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Chelsea striker Sam Kerr was cautioned after doling out some rough justice to a pitch invader during a Women’s Champions League match against Juventus in southwest London on Wednesday evening.

The Australian was described by her coach Emma Hayes as the best striker in the world after helping Chelsea seal a domestic treble with two goals in the FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.

Kerr showed skills more in keeping with the Australian Rules code she played as a child when she barged into the fan who had run onto the Kingsmeadow pitch late in Wednesday’s game, leaving him in a heap on the ground.

Read Also: UCL: Okafor strike sees Salzburg to historic win over Sevilla

The yellow card contributed to a frustrating night for Kerr and Chelsea as Juventus held on for a 0-0 draw, leaving the English champions needing a draw from a trip to Wolfsburg next week to be certain of progressing to the quarterfinals.

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UCL: Okafor strike sees Salzburg to historic win over Sevilla

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Noah Okafor scored the only goal as RB Salzburg claimed a 1-0 victory over 10-man Sevilla at the Red Bull Arena on Wednesday to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Salzburg finished as runners-up in Group G with 10 points from their six matches, one behind pool winners Lille. Sevilla ended in third place and will play in the Europa League playoff round.

The first half had little goal-mouth action but the game burst into life after the break as Salzburg were helped by a second yellow card for Sevilla’s key midfielder Joan Jordan on 65 minutes.

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The match was played behind closed doors without fans due to heightened COVID-19 restrictions in Austria, so the hosts were unable to celebrate their achievement with their supporters.

For two sides with reputations as attacking teams, it took 35 minutes of cagey football for the first shot on target as Ivan Rakitic warmed the palms of Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Kohn.

It was the only occasion where either keeper was worked in the first half, though Sevilla defender Jules Kounde headed wide from a corner with the best chance of the opening period.

Sevilla should have been ahead minutes after the break when Munir El Haddadi had a free header six yards from goal but saw his effort come back of the crossbar.

It was a big chance the visitors would rue missing as Salzburg went up the other end and scored with an excellent team goal.

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Read Also: UCL:  Atalanta-Villarreal tie postponed due to snow

They finally managed to string passes together and Karim Adeyemi was worked into space on the left. His low cross into the box was turned in by Swiss forward Okafor.

Sevilla’s night got worse on 65 minutes when Jordan received a deserved second booking for pulling back the pacey Adeyemi and they were left to find two goals with 10 men.

Salzburg were able to comfortably hold out to the end, with Rakitic’s first half shot the only one Sevilla, who are second in Spain’s LaLiga, could muster on target.

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