Newcastle Utd Begins European Campaign At AC Milan

LONDON: Newcastle return to the European Champions League for the first time in 20 years at AC Milan tomorrow.

The Magpies are hoping to make a name for themselves on the European stage after more than two decades of languishing in the Championship League.

Their main goal is to follow in the footsteps of Manchester City, which was also supported by funds from the Middle East country to win the treble last season.

When it managed to join the top four of the English Premier League in the first season since being taken over by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) from Saudi Arabia, Newcastle’s project was seen to achieve success faster than expected.

However, the early weeks of the new season saw Eddie Howe’s men face the real reality after losing to City, Liverpool and Brighton before coming back to beat Brentford 1-0.

Although many European stars have moved to Saudi Arabia over the past few months, Newcastle have remained prudent in their spending in the summer transfer window due to Financial Fair Play constraints.

They are only seventh in the list of the highest spending clubs of the English Premier League in the transfer market.

Newcastle and Milan were drawn in Group F along with Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund.

However, Howe is not afraid of their first challenge in Europe’s top competition because his team is used to competing against stronger opponents in the English Premier League.

“I don’t see the difference. Preparations to meet European and English opponents are the same. For me, the English Premier League is the best league in the world.

“Now we’re going to Europe, it’s a different competition and challenge, but it’s still football,” Howe said.

Manchester City only won their first European Champions League last season, but have frequently competed in the tournament since being taken over by owners from Abu Dhabi in 2011.

The same is Newcastle’s goal and tomorrow’s game will determine whether they are able to make an impact on the European stage.