Newcastle United lost the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, but pundit Micah Richards has praised Toon fans for their ‘absolutely brilliant’ display at the end of the game.

Eddie Howe‘s Newcastle were losing 2-0 in stoppage time and heading towards defeat, and the supporters inside Wembley all waved their flags in a show of support for the team. It was a wonderful visual, and a great tribute to the players who did so well in getting to the final.

Plenty of people inside the club have been touched by what the supporters did. The owners have spoke about how incredible it was, while defender Harrison Ashby was also blown away.

Once the full time whistle went, most Toon fans stayed in the ground to applaud the players and sound their appreciation while Man United celebrated at the other end of the pitch. It showed how much getting to the final meant to the supporters.

Now former Manchester City player Micah Richards has had his say, and believes that it shows the fans are being realistic.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Carabao Cup Third Round
Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Micah Richards praises ‘realistic’ Newcastle fans after cup final loss

Richards has spoke about Newcastle’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester United on The Monday Night Club on BBC Five Live.

“Newcastle United are on track for where they need to be and they should be proud of what they have achieved so far,” he said.

“I think the next step is going to be expectation levels, you have just got to be realistic and I think Newcastle fans are being realistic. If you look at the fans and how many fans stayed and clapped the players at the end, it was absolutely brilliant to see.

“The thing is with Newcastle that when you need to look at your bench, I know they brought Isak on, but when you are bringing on – and no disrespect to a Ritchie or Jacob Murphy – and Man United are bringing on Sabitzer and Sancho, if we are being honest about the situation they are potentially two top players and two very good players. The difference is going to be a little bit different.

“I think Newcastle to be where they are and what they have achieved so far is successful anyway. Top 10 and a cup run is being brilliant. The next step is going to be the one, because they have got to a level where they are a very good team but you need more players who can take you to the next level, without being disrespect to the old one.

“That’s not nice, when you have players coming in every transfer window to take your place it’s difficult but the competition is what makes the team better and I think that’s what Newcastle and the next stage will need.”

Newcastle’s time will come

Richards is right. There is a lot of realism with most Newcastle fans. Just getting to a final at Wembley was an achievement in itself. Of course, it would have been amazing to win but it just wasn’t to be.

As the 34-year-old says, there was just a bit of a gulf between the two sides. Man United had better options to bring on, and they also had stacks of big game experience. In contrast, it was probably the biggest game ever for most of Eddie Howe’s players.

But they did the club proud, and it will only further their desire to go one better. That is the next step in this project. We have reached a final very early, but the big challenge is winning one.

When that happens remains to be seen, as it is very difficult to win trophies. Sunday’s Carabao Cup was Man United’s first for six years, which is a long drought for a club like them.

For Newcastle, the wait goes on, but the future is looking bright with both club and fans pulling in the same direction.

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