Newcastle United have officially booked their place in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League after a goalless draw with Leicester City on Monday.
The Magpies began this season as one of the clubs expected to challenge for a place in Europe after heavy investment in the last three windows.
But they were not expected to crash into the top four given the quality of the traditional top four regulars Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and, to some extent, Arsenal and Tottenham.
However, the Magpies have not only crashed the top four party but have done so in style, sealing their place in the Champions League for the first time in over two decades with a game to spare.
After the game, manager Eddie Howe stated that a top-four finish was never his team’s aim when the season began.
“The target wasn’t the top four,” said Howe.
“You always hope, but we didn’t feel we were ready for that. It was more, ‘Could we not have that flirtation with relegation’.
“So it’s a big relief and an amazing night to see the supporters and the reaction to what we’ve achieved.”