Wed 8 Nov 2023, 10:13 · Ash Harrison

Newcastle may have to sacrifice this year’s UCL to ensure they return next year

Newcastle may have to sacrifice this year’s UCL to ensure they return next year
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Newcastle may have to fall on their sword in this year's Champions League in order to return to the competition next season.

Okay, put down your pitchforks, we're not at all saying we want us to just give up trying in the Champions League. It's not even in Eddie Howe's nature to just roll-over anyway.

What we're saying is, that right now we have 13 players who, if there was another game tomorrow, could not play. That's an entire side plus a couple subs. That is the very definition of an injury crisis (yes, there are bans and unregistered players included in that number, but still).

Newcastle's injury crisis is only going to get worse playing two games a week every week

With so many players missing and so many fixtures to play grouped together, it's little wonder that we're picking up one injury per game.

Clearly, that's not sustainable and is certainly not going to help us with our Premier League momentum.

We knew before this season started that the Champions League was a bonus for us, we weren't equipped to win it, it was just a case of seeing how far we could get while we're still a couple of years ahead of schedule.

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Nick Potts - PA Images
Eddie Howe would never send a side out to do anything other than win

This experiment is now coming at the expense of everything else as it's costing us players on a weekly basis.

Newcastle now sit bottom of Group F and our European dream could come to an end in two week's time if results go against us. All we are saying is, if the injury situation hasn't drastically improved by the conclusion of the group stages, would we be better off dropping out of Europe all together to make sure we can focus on the league so that we get back into the competition next year when we will be stronger?

Newcastle still have the Premier League and two domestic cups to worry about

We still have the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup to contend with as well as trying to get back into that top four. There's a lot to do and obviously, those tasks would be much easier with a full squad that wasn't being pushed to the limits.

What we're really saying here is, if we get knocked out of Europe, let's not lose our heads, it could be a blessing in disguise.

On the other hand, if players start returning from injury then, of course we should keep pushing - even though we know that's what Howe is going to do anyway.