Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says reaching a semi-final “isn’t enough” as prepares his team to face Southampton in the League Cup on Tuesday, bidding to end a decades-long trophy drought.
The Magpies reached their first League Cup semi for 47 years by beating Leicester earlier this month to set up the clash against Saints, who dumped Manchester City out of the competition.
Newcastle have not won any domestic silverware for 68 years and Howe, who takes his side to the south coast for the first leg of the tie on Tuesday, does not want to fail with next month’s Wembley final in sight.
“We’re delighted to be where we are, but the semi-final itself isn’t enough, I don’t think it’s enough for anybody,” he said on Monday.
“I think you go into these games and to say you got to a semi-final is nothing. Ultimately, you want to get one step further, I know the players feel the same way.
“I and my coaching team feel passionate about it that we want to make the final, but we have to navigate these two games, they’re going to be very difficult.”
Newcastle have made enormous strides since a Saudi-led consortium bought the club in October 2021 and are third in the Premier League, with just one league defeat all season.
“We’re desperate for the next step, but we have to take our mind off that really and focus on the process and the job, and the job is to go to Southampton and perform,” said Howe.
Newcastle extended their Premier League record to 15 games unbeaten with a goalless draw at Crystal at the weekend.
Opponents Southampton are bottom of the table under new management following the appointment of Nathan Jones in November and Howe was full of praise for his opposite number in the dugout.
“Nathan I admire greatly as a manager, I think he’s done very well in his career, looking at his time at Luton, what a job he did,” said the Newcastle boss.
“He’s now gone to a new club and he’s looking to implement his ideas there. We know with a new manager, new players coming in it’s a different challenge from the one we faced under (previous manager) Ralph (Hasenhuttl).
“I think with the cup game as well it’s a chance for both teams to get away from the Premier League and the pressures that bring — that’ll be an interesting dynamic going into these two games.”
The second leg will take place in Newcastle on January 31.
Manchester United travel to Nottingham Forest for the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.