Howe, though, stressed that he could not personally feel anger with the players. “Anger is an emotion you feel if you feel they have let you down,” he said. “These players have been unbelievable for me. They need support and I will give them that – we are aware we can’t perform like that. No excuses. I have to take ownership today and it was not good enough.”
Howe also revealed that Callum Wilson, who was missing with the hamstring injury he sustained in the midweek Borussia Dortmund defeat, would now pull out of the England squad and will be out for “a number of weeks”. He also said that he does not expect “a flood of” players to return even within the next fortnight. One small crumb of comfort is that Bruno Guimaraes was serving only a one match suspension after controversially escaping a red card against Arsenal last week for violent conduct.
Newcastle have now not won in the seven matches he has missed since his debut and his presence was badly missed from the very first minute when Bournemouth immediately exploited the obvious uncertainty running through Howe’s makeshift team. A first-minute attack down the left wing saw Marcus Tavernier square the ball for Ryan Christie, whose rising effort was held by goalkeeper Nick Pope. Antoine Semenyo was frequently also driving forward on the other Bournemouth flank and he soon forced Pope into an even better save low to his left.
Semenyo had retained his persistent threat into the second half and, having run directly at Joe Willock, the ball cannoned somewhat fortuitously into Solanke’s path. There was still plenty for the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker to do, however, and he rode several challenges before seeming to slightly wrong-foot Pope by shooting inside the near post. To their credit, Bournemouth did not seek to nurse their lead and duly doubled their advantage 13 minutes later.