Eddie Howe admits even he was SURPRISED Alexander Isak took Newcastle’s winning penalty on Friday after Kieran Trippier picked up the ball to distract Nottingham Forest… as the Magpies’ right-back insists they ‘can do something special’ this season
When Kieran Trippier picked up the ball and placed it on the spot kick after Newcastle were given a late penalty against Nottingham Forest, even Eddie Howe was confused because Alexander Isak was his penalty taker.
‘I’d love to take the credit because it was that good,’ said Howe. ‘Kieran had the ball, so I was a little bit confused, but it was great to see Alex take it so well. That’s the hallmark of Kieran – I thought he was excellent,’ Howe added.
It was yet another sign of Trippier’s leadership on the pitch and just how integral he is to Newcastle’s push for a Champions League spot. The Newcastle skipper had 92 touches on Friday night – more than anyone else, as he bombed up and down the flank, before having the initiative to take on the responsibility to ensure Isak would not be affected by any of Forest’s mind games.
Even Sky Sports were fooled by Trippier’s reverse dark arts in injury time. They put up a graphic on screen showing Trippier’s previous spot kicks but the full-back stared down Forest keeper Keylor Navas and after Navas was booked for time wasting, Trippier smirked and casually retreated.
Up stepped Isak to send Navas the wrong way and send the Newcastle fans into ecstasy.
Newcastle beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 thanks to an injury time penalty from Alexander Isak
Isak slotted home to send Newcastle fans into raptures after Kieran Trippier had originally picked up the ball and placed it on the spot in an attempt to distract Nottingham Forest
As the travelling Toon army moved their celebrations on from the banks of the River Trent to the bars in the city centre, Trippier emerged from the changing rooms and spoke about just how much he is enjoying his time at Newcastle.
‘We shouldn’t underestimate how big this win is. They’re a tough side and it’s not an easy place to come to,’ said Trippier. ‘We believe that we can do something special. Honestly, this is one of the best groups I’ve ever been in – the togetherness, there’s no egos, a real hard-working team and that comes from the manager. We’re fit as a fiddle and the lads will give everything,’ he added.
For Trippier, the moment of genius at the end was simply a matter of letting Newcastle’s star man focus on the task at hand.
‘I said to Alex “I’ll hold the ball and you just zone in and get in the moment. Do your normal routine and I’ll take all the pressure. I want you to be as calm as possible.” Little details like that can help and he put it away,’ said Trippier.
It was a sixth goal for Isak in just his seventh Premier League start for Newcastle and the Swede showcased exactly why Newcastle made him their record signing in the summer. In too many games this season, Newcastle have had control but failed to make it count with a lack of ruthlessness in the final third. But in Isak, who has kept Callum Wilson out of the starting eleven in recent weeks, is a man with that quality in front of goal. His first goal was superbly taken and he was denied a delightful assist due to VAR.
‘It’s been difficult for Alex (with injuries) but he’s taken his chance. His ability is frightening at such a young age,’ Trippier added.
Long after the final whistle had blown on Friday night, the Newcastle fans were still singing. ‘This is the best trip I’ve ever been on, I don’t wanna go home’
Carry on the way they’re going and there will be trips galore across Europe next year. In the early hours of Saturday morning, Newcastle flew out to Dubai for a warm weather training camp, knowing that with 12 games remaining, their destiny is entirely in their own hands. Next up. Manchester United at home.
Trippier insisted the Newcastle squad believe they can do something special this season
Eddie Howe’s side are now two points off fourth place Tottenham with two games in hand