Newcastle United’s Nick Pope explains why it was ‘second time lucky’ in the San Siro

NICK POPE was happy to leave the San Siro with a clean sheet at the second time of asking as he helped Newcastle launch their Champions League campaign with a hard-earned point last night.

The 31-year-old was in the England team which lost 1-0 to Italy in the Nations League at the same venue in September last year when Giacomo Raspadori’s second-half strike spoiled his night.


However, he refused to be beaten on his return with the Magpies yesterday as they secured a 0-0 Group F draw with AC Milan, playing a key role with five saves inside six first-half minutes amid a Milan onslaught.

AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle: Nick Pope is the hero as Eddie Howe's men battle to  a hard-fought point at the San Siro on their Champions League return |  Daily Mail Online

Asked about the clean sheet which got away with England, Pope said: “I did have a go and we conceded quite late with England, so to come here and get over the line in Milan…There were so many positives on the night as well as lessons to take from the game.


“But I was really proud of the lads for their resilience and the character that we showed to get the point.



“It’s a difficult place to come and it was also a quick turn-around from the weekend. But I am really proud of the boys for what they gave on and off the ball. They protected my goal.

“Obviously we couldn’t get the goal at the other end, but it was a tremendous effort.”


Newcastle arrived in Italy as Milan Fashion Week got under way, but they were unable to turn on the style as their stuttering start to the new season continued.


They offered little as an attacking force until deep into stoppage time, when Sean Longstaff forced a vital save from substitute goalkeeper Marco Sportiello.


Pope said: “As the game runs down, you realise that the first goal might be the only goal and one that wins it.


“You always think you will get a chance. I don’t think we had loads in the game overall, but obviously the longer it goes at 0-0, you feel a chance might come your way.


“There were transitions and Sean had his shot that was just tipped over.”


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