Howe’s men arrived in the capital on a fine run of form and facing a Chelsea side beset by off the pitch distractions over the future ownership of the club and limits on spending.


The game looked to be heading towards a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge until the 88th minute, when Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz controlled the ball well and hit a shot which beat Martin Dubravka.



The goal was enough for Chelsea to take all three points and Newcastle remain on 31 points, nine above the drop zone.


Howe believes that Newcastle put in a solid defensive display and were punished when they dropped too deep in the second half.



“Overall it was a very good defensive performance, very strong tactically”, he said post match on Sky Sports.


“Players were resilient to not give away too many chances and I can’t speak highly enough about our defensive display.



“Our pressing was good in the first half.


“We faded a bit in the second half, which is understandable, with the players we have out. We got too deep and they punished us.”


Despite Newcastle’s much-improved form, boosted by January transfer window arrivals, combined with a nine-point gap over the bottom three, Howe still believes his side are in the relegation battle.


“We are still in a relegation battle.


“Under no illusion we have to respond and we are looking forward to some big games ahead.”


Next up for Newcastle is a trip to strugglers Everton, following by a visit back to the capital to face Tottenham Hotspur.