Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has launched a defence of Sven Botman following his poor performance against Arsenal and insisted that he is still to reach his peak physical levels following returning from a knee injury.


The Dutch defender was especially poor in Newcastle’s poor 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates over the weekend.


The defender returned to the pitch in December following missing a few months of action due to a knee injury and has been a regular in the team since then.




However, Howe insisted that he is yet to attain his best physical levels and indicated that Botman is still feeling the effects of his knee injury.


He stressed to be at his best in the Premier League, the Dutchman will need time to get back to full fitness and the Newcastle boss wants to make sure that Botman is not blamed for the loss at Arsenal.



The Newcastle boss claimed that the whole team were not at their best and they paid the price for it.


Howe said in a press conference: “He had a very serious knee injury, he’s coming back to fitness and I think he’s improved with each game but I think he’s still working back to his very best levels.



“With his injury, we’re monitoring it and we’re hoping he’s able to adapt to Premier League football. It was a very significant knee injury.


“To play Premier League football, you have to be at your peak physical condition.


“He’s fit to play but it was a significant injury so hopefully, with a couple more weeks he’ll be back to his best.


“There should be no focus on Sven, the focus should be on the team.


“There was no one individual that let us down, we all weren’t at our best against Arsenal.


“When you’re not at your best against the very best sides, you get punished.”


Newcastle have an FA Cup clash at Blackburn on Tuesday night before they host an in-form Wolves side at St. James’ Park on Saturday.