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Eddie Howe stands by team selection after Newcastle were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield Wednesday

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Eddie Howe stands by team selection after Newcastle were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield Wednesday

‘We are light on numbers but we think the quality is high’: Eddie Howe stands by his team selection after Newcastle were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield Wednesday, but admits his side are not ‘good enough’ clinical’

Eddie Howe has defended his team selection and said they loved Newcastle’s finish against Sheffield Wednesday, but admitted his team didn’t run as deep as he would have liked.

The Magpies were also beaten at the third-round stage by League One opposition last season. That didn’t stop Howe making eight changes at Hillsborough and his side fell to a 2-1 defeat.

‘We are desperate to win the game and I have picked a team that I think is strong enough to do that,’ said the Newcastle boss.

Newcastle were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in their third round FA Cup tie

Newcastle were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in their third round FA Cup tie

Eddie Howe stands by his decision to make eight changes because his side are 'light on numbers'

Eddie Howe stands by his decision to make eight changes because his side are ‘light on numbers’

‘We are aware that we don’t have the deepest squad. We are light on numbers but we think high on quality. We’ve given some players a chance who haven’t had a lot of minutes this season, and I thought there were positives and negatives to their performance.

‘We are very disappointed with the exit. We created enough chances to win the tie and their goalkeeper made a lot of good saves, but we weren’t clinical enough.’

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Newcastle were without Allan Saint-Maximin, who pulled out on the eve of the game with illness, but Howe gave a start to fit striker Alexander Isak, who played 45 minutes on his return from four which month thigh removal.

Alexander Isak returned from injury for the match and was able to play 45 minutes

Alexander Isak returned from injury for the match and was able to play 45 minutes

Howe said: ‘We have a very small squad and need to protect that for future games. The Leicester game [Carabao Cup quarter-final on Tuesday] is on the horizon and we’ve picked a team based on that game in mind.

‘Without that game, the team might have picked differently. We try to juggle everything.

‘We haven’t had a lot of losses this season and it hurts, you don’t want to lose any game. We are determined to do well in this competition but it’s not going to happen, and there are always things to learn.’