Newcastle United failed to make the most of two advantages before Palace - and Eddie Howe knows it

Newcastle United's chances of European football next term have taken a hit after another below par showing on the road.

At times Wednesday evening's 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace actually, oddly, felt rather similar to Newcastle's 1-0 win over Fulham earlier in the month. However, this time there would be no smash and grab late on from Eddie Howe's side as Palace actually took their chances, unlike their London counterparts.

Oliver Glasner's side are on the up after upsetting the odds with some big performances in recent weeks - but the manner of Newcastle's showing leaves a bitter taste in the mouth for more than one reason.

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Newcastle had two confidence-boosting advantages on their side going into this week's clash. Firstly, the nature of their impressive win last time out against Tottenham Hotspur meant confidence was arguably as high as it has been all season heading into the Selhurst showdown.

Secondly, the 10 days Newcastle have had to rest, recuperate and prepare for this week's action should, in theory, have sparked an energetic and exciting performance. Instead, the Magpies looked leggy, while Palace looked fresh despite playing twice since Newcastle's last outing.

The away side's performance had all the hallmarks of a team who finds itself with nothing to play for at the business end of the season. That could not be further from the truth as the north east side attempt to salvage a tough campaign with a European finish.

Manchester United's spirited comeback against Sheffield United means Erik ten Hag's side have now leapfrogged Howe's men into sixth-place. The two teams meet at Old Trafford in the coming weeks, with Newcastle all but certain to suffer defeat if they perform how they did on Wednesday.

One positive from the jaunt down south was Callum Wilson's return to the squad but he could only make the bench, along with Tino Livramento, who Howe admits was never likely to be risked due to an ongoing ankle issue. That sums up just how desperate the injury crisis on Tyneside - even after months of never-ending key absences.

"We were very disappointed with the performance, from the high of Tottenham to the low of tonight. We were disappointing in most aspects of our play," Howe told reporters at full-time.

"We have to take responsibility for that. Maybe the gap between games didn't help us on reflection but still we knew that gap was there and we had to perform better than we did today. It is a missed opportunity for us."

Asked if there was frustration over not benefitting from such a luxurious break at this stage of a gruelling season, Howe added: "We worked through the gap to not have an adverse affect on our performance, we take responsibility for that, it's not an excuse."

On paper, Newcastle have the perfect chance to bounce back this weekend. Back on home soil against a team who have conceded 92 goals and counting in the top flight this term.

But Newcastle still have three away fixtures to tackle. A repeat of the Palace showing in any of them and they will be without European football next season.