Eddie Howe: Newcastle manager rues ‘damaging’ Watford draw

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Eddie Howe still believes Newcastle can avoid relegation despite a “damaging” draw with Watford which exposed his side’s “psychological” weakness.

The Magpies have dropped 21 points from winning positions this season, and let in Joao Pedro’s 88th-minute header after Allan Saint-Maximin’s opener.

The 1-1 draw left Newcastle 19th in the Premier League, with only one win.

“We’ve damaged ourselves to a point, but you always have an opportunity to bounce back,” the Newcastle boss said.

“I think it’s psychological. There was a thought to protect what we had so early in the game and we lost our attacking threat in the match, but that should never be the case with so long to go.

“That’s linked to confidence, and probably not having won as many games as we would have liked in a long period of time.

“I just hope it doesn’t leave mental scars for the players. I’m sure it won’t because we will analyse the game and then work to try and change it.”

Newcastle are two points from safety and travel next Saturday to Leeds United, who are seven points above Howe’s side.

The former Bournemouth boss said he was “really disappointed” he had not helped the team earn more wins since he was appointed in November.

But he added: “We still believe in ourselves and the players. Obviously we know that every game gets more difficult. They don’t get any any smaller, they get bigger with every match.”

Meanwhile, Watford boss Claudio Ranieri hoped the late draw would provide the “electricity” for his side to remain in the top flight after their promotion last season.

The point ended a run of six league defeats, and came after he handed debuts to defenders Hassane Kamara and Samir, as well as midfielder Edo Kayembe

“We created two or three great chances before scoring the goal,” the Italian said.

“Of course I want more. I want more from my players because I know what they can do.

“But I can understand after losing six matches in a row, maybe they were a bit more anxious but I hope this point would have give to them more electricity or confidence to believe in themselves.”

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