Newcastle United must now do what no other team in Premier League history has achieved if they are to avoid relegation – survive after failing to win any of their first 14 games.
A 1-1 home draw with fellow strugglers Norwich City on Tuesday extended their winless run and new manager Eddie Howe knows the situation is becoming critical.
Only three other teams in the Premier League era have failed to win any of their opening 14 games – Swindon Town (1993-94), Queens Park Rangers (2012-13) and Sheffield United (2020-21) – and all were relegated.
Howe looked on in disbelief on Tuesday as Ciaran Clark was sent off for inexplicably hauling back Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki. Yet his team responded well and took the lead through Callum Wilson’s penalty on the hour.
But Pukki struck a spectacular volley in the 79th minute to keep Newcastle rooted to the bottom with seven points.
Yet Howe, the man entrusted to lead Newcastle into a new era after a Saudi Arabia-backed takeover, remains confident his side can escape the drop.
“I think there’s wins in the team,” Howe, who was in the St James’ Park dugout for the first time, told reporters.
“I really believe so. We needed to improve our defensive resilience and performance, and I thought tonight, we did.
“I believe we can do it. I still believe it’s in our own hands. But obviously with every game that we don’t win, it becomes harder.”
Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey said that it was a missed opportunity to get a win on the board.
“It’s unfortunate the red card early doors gave us a mountain to climb,” he said.
“We felt we deserved the three points. We’re confident we can get out of the situation we’re in. We’ve got a huge game Saturday. We’ll recover and go again.”
Newcastle host 19th-placed Burnley at the weekend.
For Norwich it also felt like a missed opportunity to maintain their momentum, although the draw did take them one point above Burnley who have two games in hand.
Norwich Keeper Tim Krul, a former Newcastle favourite, summed up the mood in the visitors’ camp.
“Before the game you’d probably have said a point would be alright. If you play against 10 men for 80 minutes you’re disappointed not to get three points,” he said.
“Let them write us off. We know different. Judge us when we’ve played everyone. We have a good squad. We have some clear new ideas under the manager.”