Eddie Howe He believes Newcastle’s late win at Nottingham Forest could be a defining moment in his side’s quest for Champions League football next season.
Alexander Isak He was given a stoppage time penalty for a 2-1 win that saw fourth-placed Tottenham approach a point with a game on their hands.
Forest took the lead in the 26th minute with Emmanuel Dennis’ first goal for the club, but Isak evened the half perfectly when he volleyed home.
A second half of disappointment ensued on Howe’s side as they sought a winner, at least when they had a goal that was controversially denied by VAR.
However, Isak had the final word after Moussa Niakhate’s handball to keep his dream of getting into the top four firmly alive, based on Moussa Niakhate’s win against Wolves last week.
“Back-to-back wins, back-to-back wins are very important in this department,” Howe said. “The quality of the teams, the strength of the opponent (it) is very difficult to do.
“It’s a big moment in our season and we’ve managed to dig deep and find a winner.
“We don’t know (how important it might be) right now, but we finally felt a big moment.
“We went through a series of games around the cup final, which were tough matches and played against the best opponents. Unfortunately we were beaten three times and how we responded was a real test of our character.
“Full credit to the players, it was a huge win.”
Points could have been completed before injury time had Elliot Anderson’s goal not been dismissed for offside during preparation, leaving Howe “no idea” of what was going on.
“The VAR goal is a good place to start, I’m not sure what’s going on there,” he said. “I have no idea, so I have to sit down and see what happens.
“I was surprised that the referee went to the VAR screen and made that decision and that call.
“But that’s what happened, and the main thing is that the players reacted really well to it.”
There was some bad news for magpieshowever, Miguel Almiron was excluded for six weeks due to a thigh injury during training.
“Miggy pulled a thigh muscle in training and unfortunately it’s pretty bad, it’s going to be six weeks,” Howe said.
Forest also had a problem with referee Paul Tierney and it appears that the club owners were angry at the referee’s performance.
The main point of contention was Tierney’s decision not to give Isak’s equalizer a free kick in the build at halftime.
Boss Steve Cooper, called into Tierney’s locker room at halftime, Newcastle Deputy director Jason Tindall said: “I’m not going to dwell too much on the fact, but it’s a foul on Andre (Ayew) in the making.
“The referee made a bad decision, and so did we. Handball around the penalty is something we can’t argue with.
Newcastle’s former midfielder Jonjo Shelvey He suggested that his former teammates may have influenced the referee.
“Honestly, I didn’t think they would whine so much on the pitch,” he told Sky Sports.
“To be fair, their team has a lot of whining bags and I’m going to tell them playfully now.
“But I hope they come to Europe, I have nothing but positive words to say about the whole club, the people there, the staff there… I made a lot of friends and I’m happy for them in the league.
But now I represent this club. As soon as I cross the white line, I’m there to win. We didn’t do that today, but we will come again.”