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Eddie Howe wants European qualification as Newcastle exit the FA Cup

Eddie Howe insists Newcastle’s campaign is not over after their 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester City as he targets a return to European football next season.

Newcastle’s wait for a major piece of domestic silverware will extend into a 70th year after two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva proved enough for a City side who were in almost complete control for most of Saturday’s tie.

It was another disappointment for a Newcastle team who have struggled to match the achievements of last season, when they qualified for the Champions League with a fourth-placed finish and reached the Carabao Cup final.

Hindered by a long list of injuries, Newcastle sit 10th in the Premier League going into the international break.

But they are still within touch of either Europa League or Europa Conference League qualification, and Howe would not turn his nose up at either.

“We have a responsibility in the final 10 games of the season to build,” Howe said. “Of course we have our targets for the season but we’re always building for the future to make sure we’re the most competitive team we can be.

“There’ll be no negativity from me or the players. We know the importance of representing the club well in every game and in every moment, and I still feel we have a huge amount to play for.

“(European football), absolutely that’s our aim. There’s a huge amount to play for. If people say our season is over, that’s absolute nonsense as far as I’m concerned.

“We’re driving forward to try and get our best form back first and foremost, to try and win as many games as we can and to finish the season in a positive way because I’ve no doubt we’ll take that feeling into next season as well.”

Howe will take those players not on international duty next week to a training camp in Dubai, where he is hoping to see a number of injured players return. Tino Livramento, Harvey Barnes and Kieran Trippier are thought to be in contention for the match against West Ham on March 30.

“As always there will be a period of relaxation after a very busy period,” Howe said. “We’ve got to try and get players fit before our next game and then there will be a period of work where we will analyse (the City) game and pick the pieces up.

“We’ll look ahead to our next opponent and get some good work in, some fitness work in and come back stronger for it.”

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