Eddie Howe lauded Nick Pope’s calm authority as he led Newcastle’s rebuilt rearguard to a hard-fought goalless Premier League draw at Brighton.
Pope made two good saves on the south coast to concede a second goal in as many games early in the new season.
The England stopper blocked both Adam Lallana’s powerful header and a clean Solly March strike, while Kieran Trippier cleared a March shot off the line.
Newcastle were pressured by Brighton but the visitors struggled for a commendable point at the Amex.
“He’s a very relaxed character, very popular in the dressing room and exudes a real calmness,” Howe said.
“The save from Lallana was first class.
“You’re only as strong as your defenses, I think we changed personnel, added strength and depth, and now we have some very good characters in this unit.
“And I think you saw that today because we were under the hood, but we kept calm and we fought our way through.”
Pope was the subject of some social media excitement this week when Newcastle fans hijacked a Burger King poll.
The fast-food company polled Twitter users on whether they prefer cucumbers or tomatoes on their burgers.
Newcastle fans convinced Burger King to add “Nick Pope” to the options, causing an online frenzy among Toon supporters.
Magpies boss Howe remained stoically stunned by the excitement after the South Coast tie and admitted he couldn’t help but care about the noise.
“I have no idea, I just heard about the off-pitch stuff a second ago,” Howe said.
“I have no idea to be honest. The Burger King stuff, I don’t really get it.
“We’re always disappointed when we don’t win, but we’re very happy with the point at the end, especially the second half.
“Brighton played very well; We rode our luck at times, but we also showed a lot of spirit and unity.”
Brighton were unable to follow up on a fine 2-1 win at Manchester United last weekend, but manager Graham Potter was overall happy with the draw.
“I wouldn’t say we’re happy with the point, we accept the point because this is football, but we were very confident that if there was one team that would win the game it would be us,” Potter said.
“But getting a point against a very strong opponent is always valuable.
“Eddie Howe has done a great job, they have a very strong and powerful team.
“All in all, our guys were fantastic on a hot day and difficult playing conditions.
“We just missed that last little bit, that last little finish, a little bit of quality and their goalkeeper made some good saves.”
Neal Maupay has been left out of Brighton’s squad with the Frenchman reportedly in talks with Nottingham Forest over a move.
Potter added: “There is no update, but there is a bit of interest.
“Players are people, with families and careers to think about and he’s thinking about things, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/eddie-howe-nick-pope-newcastle-brighton-graham-potter-b2144590.html Eddie Howe praises Nick Pope’s calm authority as Newcastle keep Brighton at bay