Eddie Howe is desperate to break new ground as he attempts to guide Newcastle into the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
The Magpies clinched their place in the last 16 with a hard-fought 1-0 fourth round win over Howe’s former club Bournemouth at St James’ Park on Tuesday night to keep alive their hopes of winning the first national trophy since 1955.
When asked about the next hurdle, he said: “I’ve been to the quarter-finals a couple of times with Bournemouth and never got past the quarter-final stage.
“They are special games. Now that you’re getting into the business side of the competition, you’re a couple of big wins away from, hopefully, an incredible experience.
“But you can only take it game by game. I don’t know yet who we will play against, but we are looking forward to the next round.
“I don’t think we are looking too far ahead. For us, these are small steps. We are in the next round, but now the Premier League has priority and we are looking forward to the match against Leicester, which will be a really tough challenge for us.
“We will look at the next round when it arrives on our calendar. We will try to see the draw, but we are delighted to still be in the competition.”
A match which Newcastle dominated for long periods without creating the clear-cut chances they could have hoped for was finally settled by Bournemouth skipper Adam Smith’s unfortunate own goal, and Magpies goalkeeper Nick Pope had to be careful to deny Dominic Solanke equalized in the final.
However, the margin of victory – the seventh in a row – might have been greater had Callum Wilson’s first-half strike not been harshly ruled out for offside in the absence of VAR.
Howe said: “We didn’t have a vision of it and I didn’t know it at half time. I was a bit critical of the VAR. Especially in the beginning, I didn’t want to change the way we play.
“But then you see an incident like that and if it was in play, I’m a little disappointed it wasn’t in use.”
Opposite number Gary O’Neil was happy with much of his side’s performance on Tyneside but understandably disappointed with the way they were defeated.
O’Neil, who was without Jefferson Lerma and Marcus Tavernier after a virus hit the pitch, said: ‘We came in, we gave it our all and you come out of the Carabao Cup against a top level team who are obviously taking a lot of the time. competition, very seriously with the team they nominate and the substitutions they make.
“Newcastle away in the Carabao Cup in the form they’re in was never going to be an easy draw and the lads have proved themselves.
“I ask them to make sure we are competitive in every game and to make sure it looks like us and even though they have had a tough week, we have been. We were competitive and in my opinion we were unlucky not to take the game forward.”