Joe Cole was on pundit duties tonight on TNT Sport as Newcastle United got their first Champions League point in 20 years against AC Milan.

There were plenty of heart-stopping moments for Newcastle fans watching on in the stands and at home as AC Milan adopted a shoot-on-sight policy which kept Nick Pope very busy.

With all due credit to Newcastle’s defence though, they did their best to ensure that Pope didn’t have to make a save from every shot, throwing bodies in front of Milan’s long shots. There are going to be plenty of bruises in that squad tonight.

Newcastle were superb defensively against Milan

Newcastle did exceptionally well for the most part, keeping their shape and making sure Milan had to resort to shots from range, although they were really wasteful in front of goal when sometimes it looked easier to score than miss.

It was on the ball where Newcastle struggled, especially in the final third. Unlike Milan’s shoot-on-sight policy, Newcastle were trying to walk it in. The whole team looked terrified of taking a shot – which has been a recurring theme all season.

AC Milan v Newcastle United FC: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

That was reflected in the fact that our only shot on target came in the 94th minute, ironically from distance. Well, 18 yards.

Joe Cole, speaking on TNT Sport at full time, echoed that sentiment that Newcastle weren’t at the races when on the ball but suggested that it won’t bother Eddie Howe one bit, saying: “He’ll be absolutely delighted. Great tenacity from the players, the commitment to defend, throwing bodies.

Joe Cole hit the nail on the head at full time

“On the ball, they were well off their usual standard but that doesn’t matter, they’ve come here, they’ve gone to the San Siro and now they’ve gone and got a point. They’ve got that off their back.”

Scotland v England - 150th Anniversary Heritage Match
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

I couldn’t agree more with Joe Cole. There’s a lot of negativity amongst fans online, but really, we’ve gone away to the San Siro in our first Champions League game in 20 years with five players in the starting eleven who’ve never played at that level.

We’ve come away with a point and a clean sheet. I think the lads can hold their head up high after that.

Related Topics