NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has admitted Newcastle United missed the influence of their Brazilian talisman Bruno Guimaraes — however, he believes any team in the Premier League would be the same.
The central midfielder served the first of a three-game suspension as the Magpies labored to a 1-1 home draw with struggling West Ham United. Guimaraes was red-carded in the Carabao Cup semifinal second-leg win over Southampton at St. James’ Park in midweek.
Callum Wilson netted for the Magpies in the third minute before Lucas Paqueta, a reported transfer target for Howe last summer, ensured honors remained even.
And when asked whether the Champions League-chasing Magpies missed Guimaraes, Howe said: “Undoubtedly, he’s that difference-maker with an eye for a pass. He has creative flair we possibly missed today.
“I think we’re always going to miss Bruno because he’s so unique and slightly different. But I do think our midfield players today played well. I don’t think it’s a criticism of them, he’s irreplaceable. We missed his creative eye probably more than anything else.
“It was a great start for us but we just didn’t build on that great start and that’s the disappointing thing, I thought we allowed West Ham into the game and probably got punished for that.”
Having taken the lead early, United allowed the visitors back into the encounter and not until the final 20, after the introduction of new boy Anthony Gordon, did the Magpies really look like mounting a challenge for all three points.
On the impact of former Everton man Gordon, Howe said: “Yeah, very pleased. Your first action here at St. James’ Park is important. His first pass was a brilliant one, he injected some life into us in a time where we needed it in the game. Disappointed for him that we couldn’t get him in the box and see what he can do closer to goal but he did really well when he came on.”
West Ham boss David Moyes thinks his side deserve credit for matching a United side who have lost just once in the Premier League all season.
“It’s a great point for us. We played well today. I’m really pleased for the players,” said the Hammers’ boss.
“We could have buckled. This place at the moment, it’s right on top of you. But we played well today and deserved to get back in the game. There are lots of pluses for us.
“There was a period where we had two or three opportunities or moments where we could have got the second goal, but I was pleased with how we controlled the game at different times. Newcastle are playing very well at the moment, but we did today as well.
“We deserve some credit because we’ve not been playing so well. They’re a big, big side. They can put the ball on top of you when they don’t go round you. Nayef (Aguerd) had a brilliant tackle. Part of your job is to defend well and we did defend well today.
“It keeps a little bit of a run going for us. A draw at Newcastle isn’t the worst result. We’d have liked to win but we’re up against a team who are in good form at the moment. I think our performance merited something from the game. If we play like that next week (against Chelsea) we’ll give ourselves a chance.”