Alexander Isak scored a clinical double to secure Newcastle United’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest and believes the Magpies can take off after the international break.
The Swedish striker converted a late penalty to earn the City Ground victory, lifting Newcastle to 47 points in 26 games.
They are one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand and five points behind Liverpool.
Several of their players will travel to represent their countries over the next two weeks before the battle for Premier League places resumes.
Emmanuel Dennis gave Forest the lead in Friday’s competition with a quality chip in the 26th minute, but Newcastle equalized minutes before half-time when Isak hit Joe Willock.
Elliot Anderson of Newcastle missed a goal halfway through the second half and teammate Sean Longstaff was ruled offside during preparation.
It looked like the match should have ended smoothly, but Moussa Niakate’s ill-advised handball gave Newcastle a stoppage time penalty, and Isak made the right move with a confident shot from the spot.
Asked about the Champions League competition, Isak told Sky Sports: “We feel confident. We talked about how important it is to go into this break with a good mood.
“Hopefully it will give us energy when we get back.”
He felt that Newcastle were “not up to par” in the first half and spoke in the dressing room about the need to improve their level.
“We came out in the second half and changed our game, we played very well and were also rewarded,” added Isak.
90- @NUFC won the Premier League away game with a 90th-minute goal for the first time since December 2015 against Tottenham Hotspur when Ayoze Pérez scored the winning goal at White Hart Lane. turn around. pic.twitter.com/nbdwOAuDHq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 17, 2023
Isak celebrated with the thousands of Newcastle fans who made the trip and said: “These late winners are the best goals you can score.”
It was Newcastle’s first win of the season since conceding the first goal of the game, although at one point manager Eddie Howe became concerned that it might be “one of those nights”.
When Howe was explained that the comeback was his team’s first in the competition this semester, he said, “I think it’s partly because we’ve been so good this season that we’ve been leading in so many games. , but it’s nice to have that in your game.”
Forest have lost 15 points from their Premier League wins this season in the relegation battle, with only Bournemouth (17) and Leicester City (19) losing more.
Howe was baffled by the decision to deny 20-year-old midfielder Anderson what could have been his first goal for Newcastle.
“I couldn’t believe it at the time,” Howe said. “I would have to sit down and explain the rules on this one. I’m disappointed for Elliot because it would be a big moment in his career.”