Eddie Howe explains Alexander Isak issue after Newcastle substitution as Wilson update offered

Eddie Howe has explained why he withdrew Alexander Isak with the stakes so high against Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Sweden striker looked surprised to see his number come up with 22 minutes remaining and Newcastle needing a goal or a big moment. But Howe has revealed the decision was based on the big week ahead with trips to Man United and Brentford on the horizon and the fact he has nursed a slight illness this week.

Howe said: "Alex wasn't feeling very well yesterday. So I took the decision to just look after him with a three-game week in mind. So that was the reason. With Callum it was also with illness and he was not feeling his best with his body."

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Newcastle had to settle for a point in the clash at St James' Park with their European hopes now hanging in the balance a little. But Howe did not expect a walkover today and was realistic in his assessment.

Howe said: "It was a tough game, we knew it would be, Brighton are always difficult opponents. I don't think we hit the heights we needed to win it but, if anyone was going to, I thought it would be us.

"It was a poor goal [to concede] from us, we did start well, we were progressive and out of nothing they take the lead. I'm just disappointed with our product around the box and there probably weren't enough clear-cut chances.

"Without a doubt the scene, the environment created by the supporters. Even when Brighton scored they got right behind the team but we just couldn't find that winning goal. They have made this place a really difficult place to play. This season the crowd have taken it to another level. If you're not going to win the game, the draw for us is really important. I think it could be a valuable point for us."