Newcastle host PSG in the first Champions League game on Tyneside for 20 years, but the Magpies are in a confident mood ahead of the visit of the French champions.
Sean Longstaff has warned Paris Saint-Germain that the St James’ Park atmosphere will be “on steroids”… and can “smother” teams.
The Newcastle midfielder reckons Newcastle will take a leaf out of Liverpool ’s Anfield playbook and come on strong against Kylian Mbappe’s French champions. As Newcastle made it four wins in a five game upbeat streak, the Tyneside crowd left pondering the big question of the week.
Can this ace version of Newcastle United blow their rivals away in the Saudi v Qatar Gulf oil money derby? It’s now five clean sheets with seven hours and 50 minutes played since the Geordies conceded a goal.
And the Newcastle of last season is returning. The intensity is back with the opposition being chased down with ferocity. The slick switches of play which wear down opponents are flowing again.
Individuals are back to their peak, including Kieron Trippier, four assists in the last two league games, Miggy Almiron fizzing around and Longstaff, a powerhouse who is linking play and suffocating opponents so well.
Ahead of the first Champions League game in 20 years on Tyneside, Longstaff said: “For a night game, under the lights, St James’ Park is a special place. It’s going to be like the (Carabao Cup) semi-final last year but on steroids! This place is going to be absolutely bouncing. I can’t wait for it.
“It’s funny because if we go away and play in an atmosphere then it sometimes sends your mind everywhere when there is so much going on, and it can be tough. When teams come here I’d say it’s like that x10.
“Whatever we feel when we go away, I imagine other teams are feeling a lot worse when they come here. You feel smothered. If we feed them and they create an atmosphere, and we kick on again… when it’s bouncing there is nowhere better to play.”
Newcastle were hanging on against Milan and it was a defensive point gained, but Longstaff says they aim to win their home games and be better on the ball. He added: “It will be a good balance of us trying to win and hurt them, but also we know we can be better on the ball than against AC Milan.
“If we can have a high tempo game – you see how Liverpool used to do it in the Champions League at home when they got the better of teams – we want to do the same.”
Newcastle also have Dortmund in their group and Longstaff revealed: “There was a bit of ‘Ooooo’ at the draw, but then you sit back and think that if you’re going to be in the Champions League, you want to do it properly.
“You want to go to iconic stadiums and play against massive clubs. You also look at it and think that there’s no reason why we can’t get out of the group. The Premier League is the best league in the world and we’ve got to have the belief that if we can do well in this league then we can go to Europe and do well there.”
Miggy Almiron opened the scoring with the type of strike that was his trademark early last season. He jinked inside from the right wing unchallenged and pinged a curling left foot shot into the top corner.
It took until the 77th minute for the clincher, when Anthony Gordon, who is suspended for the trip to West Ham after his fifth booking, was brought down by Ameen Al-Dakhil. Alexander Isak netted his fourth of the season.