Eddie Howe says he is ‘shattered’ for Newcastle supporters after their shock 1-0 defeat to Cambridge FC in the first-round FA Cup on Saturday.
Howe received more bad news for Newcastle fans after the match when it was revealed that top scorer Callum Wilson will be out for eight weeks after a calf injury was checked.
The defeat to Cambridge means Howe has won only once since replacing Steve Bruce as coach in November.
More than 50,000 fans were at St James’ Park to witness Newcastle’s defeat, and when asked about the support his team received, Howe said: “We broke them.
“A great atmosphere and an incredible feeling throughout the match, even when we were left behind, we are really ready for the team to find an equaliser.
“It didn’t quite surprise me – since I’ve been here, that’s what the fans have been like.
“I’ve destroyed them, I feel their pain and it drives me to try to give back their faith and support by winning matches very soon.”
Cambridge’s win cemented Newcastle’s poor FA Cup record – they have reached the quarter-finals of the competition only once since 2005, while it was the 15th time in 16 seasons they have been knocked out in the third or fourth round.
It was meant to be a festive occasion, with Kieran Trippier making his after-singing debut from Atletico Madrid, but Joe Ironside’s second-half goal made it a miserable afternoon for the Newcastle supporters.
The Magpies had 23 shots during the match but were unable to find a way for Cambridge’s superb goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov, with Howe admitting that his team had missed Wilson.
Newcastle will have to continue to lay off the striker until March due to a calf injury, with Howe saying: “He had a scan yesterday, because there was a slight doubt about his initial scan and we needed to allow him to recover a little more.
“I think he will be out for eight weeks.”
Howe also revealed that the Newcastle owners entered the dressing room to address the players after the match, adding that the move was supportive and appreciated by the team.
“Yes, they came in to see the players,” Howe said. “I personally wasn’t there for it – they saw me with my coaching staff after that.
“I think they have been very supportive of the players, which highlights the fact that we are in this fight to stay in the league together and they are far behind everyone else.
“I can’t thank them enough for that support and I think it’s been really helpful for the players to see and feel that because this journey we’re on right now and this battle we’re fighting to stay in the division is a united effort from everyone.
“The fans are playing their part – they have been fantastic. The owners wanted to show their support to the players and that was really welcome.”
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