Eddie Howe is confident there is more to come from record signing Alexander Isak after seeing him waste the opportunity to fire Newcastle to Premier League victory over Crystal Palace.
The £58million striker, who opened his account on debut at Liverpool on Wednesday evening, was denied by Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita after going through on goal in the first half of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at St James’ Park.
Howe said: “He’ll be disappointed to miss that because he’d back himself to score and I’d certainly back him to score, but he’s gone for a certain type of finish – and that’s obviously in his game – but he didn’t quite execute it right.
“Look, he’s had no training time with us, so he’s been thrust right into action. I think he’s done very well, but there’s lots of improvement for us as a team to try to serve him.”
Newcastle’s disappointment increased six minutes into the second half when they thought they had taken the lead through Tyrick Mitchell’s own goal, only for referee Michael Salisbury to rule it out for a foul by Joe Willock on Guaita during the build-up, a decision questioned by Howe.
He said: “I didn’t think it should have been disallowed, personally, I thought it was a foul or a push on Joe Willock in the build-up to the ball coming in. Joe’s momentum is fixed at that point from his opponent, it then carries him into the goalkeeper.
“But without that push, there’s no way that Joe would have gone in with that force, so for me, it’s not a foul. If anything, it’s a penalty if it’s not a goal, so I was very surprised with the outcome.”
Opposite number Patrick Vieira, however, was adamant the official had made the right call.
He said: “After looking at the images after the game, of course I think that was the right decision from the referee.”
Vieira was indebted to Guaita for saves from Sean Longstaff and Willock on a day when the Magpies, who conceded a winner eight minutes into added time at Anfield, created chances but were unable to take any of them.
Howe said: “We’re kicking ourselves a bit, really – as we were against Liverpool – because we needed to win that game today.”
In the event, Newcastle needed fine saves from Nick Pope to deny Jean-Philippe Mateta and substitute Odsonne Edouard to secure a fourth draw in five league games since they won their opener against promoted Nottingham Forest.
Asked if he was happy with a point, Vieira said: “Yes, happy with a point. It’s a tough place to come, big atmosphere and you need to defend well as a team, and I think we did it well and we fully deserved that point.
“You’re looking at what they spent, you’re looking at the ambition – it’s going to be challenging for any other teams coming here to get something.
“They are a really strong side and I think this is one of the teams that you can count on playing European football.”