Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has admitted Champions League qualification was not even in his ideas as he embarked upon the brand new Premier League marketing campaign.

The Magpies secured a top-four end and a return to the massive stage for the primary time because the 2002-03 season with a 0-0 draw towards Leicester on Monday night to finish a exceptional turnaround.

They have been in extreme hazard of relegation when Howe took the helm in November 2021 however will now rub shoulders with the continent’s elite subsequent season.

A delighted Howe stated: “This wasn’t in our sights at that second. We had escaped relegation impressively, from the place we have been in.

“We have been hopeful of enhancing and staying away from hazard and rising the group to a place the place perhaps we might compete for Europe in a few seasons, so we’ve shot forward of schedule.

“With that comes massive challenges for the long run, however if you’re in these moments and there’s a chance of one thing like this, it’s a must to take it.”

The membership’s Saudi-backed homeowners have ploughed in extra of £250million within the squad since shopping for out Mike Ashley, however have obtained an sooner than anticipated return on their funding.

Newcastle reached the Carabao Cup closing in February solely to lose to Manchester United at Wembley, however have been to not be denied a spot at Europe’s prime desk.

Howe stated: “The issue is there’s no trophy. It’s an incredible achievement, an incredible factor when it comes to the place we’ve come from in such a brief house of time.

“But it surely feels tough to rejoice it such as you’ve gained a league or one thing like that. It’s proper up there, in fact it’s. It’s an incredible factor at a really particular membership.

Requested how he would rejoice, Howe added with a smile: “I don’t know the way I’ll rejoice. I’ll wait and see. I hope it’s not with a tea and a biscuit.”

St James’ Park was bouncing on the closing whistle and Howe, his workers and gamers carried out a lap of honour, though the temper within the Leicester camp was very totally different.

The Foxes stay two factors adrift of security, though victory over West Ham on Saturday coupled with a draw for Everton at house to Bournemouth would hold them up on aim distinction.

They didn’t muster a shot till stoppage time, when Magpies goalkeeper Nick Pope saved out Timothy Castagne’s volley to disclaim them a priceless victory, however boss Dean Smith was defiant over his safety-first method.

Smith stated: “I make no apologies for the best way we arrange right this moment. We haven’t saved a clear sheet for too lengthy and the explanation we’re the place we’re is due to that for my part.

“My thoughts was made up after I watched Newcastle play Brighton on Thursday, the most effective footballing groups within the Premier League this 12 months, Brighton, and in that first 20, 25 minutes, they steamrollered them.

“We needed to hold a clear sheet and hope, as a result of we needed to make sacrifices with our group sheet right this moment and hope then we have been nonetheless within the recreation.

“It nearly labored precisely to plan, however the goalkeeper made a very good save within the ninetieth minute, which was our solely shot, I feel.

“If it’s too little, too late, who is aware of? However we’ve taken it to Sunday now.”