Alexander Isak said Newcastle believe they will book a place in next season’s Champions League after the Swede scored twice, including in penalty time, to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 on Friday.
The win moves the Magpies to within one point of fourth place Tottenham and with an upcoming game against the Spurs.
“We believe and we know we have it in our hands and have a good chance,” said Isak after signing Newcastle for the international break and winning back to back.
“It is important that we go into this break with a good feeling with two wins from two games.”
The defeat was Forest’s first at home in the league since September and left Steve Cooper’s side two points above the relegation zone.
“Usually the worst way to lose, in the last few minutes, was fighting in the game,” Cooper said. “We made some bad football decisions in the creation of goals and that’s something we can only blame ourselves for.”
Newcastle ended a two-month wait for a Premier League win last weekend by beating Wolves and getting out of the blocks at the City Ground.
But the closest the visitors came to turning their first possession into a lead was when Renan Lodi turned Isak’s cross onto his own post.
Instead, Forest went full forward against the run of play thanks to a howler from Sven Botman.
The Dutch centre-back has been a big part of Newcastle’s success this season but his effort to get back at keeper Nick Pope was blocked by Emmanuel Dennis, who made a stunning save for just his second Forest goal.
The cross came back to save the home side when Sean Longstaff’s shot from the edge of the box came back off the woodwork.
Newcastle finally got their reward in the first half of stoppage time when club keeper Isak headed Joe Willock’s cross off the post. .
The style of play continued after the break as the Magpies surrounded the Forest goal.
Former Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas had to be at his best to turn away powerful drives from Elliot Anderson and Bruno Guimaraes.
Anderson then thought he had his first senior goal when he headed in Isak’s cross at the back post.
However, the goal was disallowed after a VAR check for offside against Longstaff in the build-up even though the ball broke through the middle from a Forest player.
Just when it looked like Forest were ready to wait for a crucial point in their fight to beat the drop, Moussa Niakhate raised his hand. to block Isak’s head.
The Swedish international’s first tour of England was marred by injury, but he showed his class by keeping his head past Navas and making scenes of excitement among the supporters.
“It was a big win and I thought it was deserved,” Howe said.
“Coming back is a great way to win and the attitude in the group is very exciting.”
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