Newcastle United’s stoppage time win at Nottingham Forest has thrown Manchester United back into the top four race, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes.
Alexander Isak netted his second goal of the match from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time to hand Eddie Howe’s side a crucial 2-1 win ahead of the international break, sending Newcastle to within a point of Tottenham in fourth.
While also stretching their lead over Liverpool to five points, the Magpies are now only a win away from catching up with third-placed side Manchester United, who defeated them 2-0 in the Carabao Cup final last month.
Reflecting on the top four race as it stands, Carragher heaped praise on Newcastle after their crucial win on Friday, lauding Howe’s fast-paced and energetic system.
The Red Devils travel to St James’ Park in early April in what promises to be a huge scrap for a Champions League spot.
‘That result pulls Manchester United into the pack, especially with Newcastle playing Manchester United next,’ Carragher toldSky Sportsafter the match.
‘Newcastle will have to get used to this. They’re going to be involved in European football, they’ll be expected to go further in cups. The thing that really impresses me is their running system. Forest went man to man and they couldn’t really cope with them.
‘I love watching them. The big thing for Newcastle and Tottenham is the fact that Tottenham do have to go to United.
‘The thing about Liverpool and Tottenham is it feels like there’s a little bit of unrest at both clubs. I don’t think you get that at Newcastle.
‘Even when they don’t win a game it’s still a really good performance. I very rarely watch them and am not impressed. This break may actually be coming at a bad time for them.
‘Just because they’re doing well doesn’t mean they’ll be there next year. Chelsea and Tottenham will be a lot stronger next season.’
Carragher, who dished out the Player of the Match award to Isak during his co-commentary duties, went on to praise the Newcastle striker for his valuable contribution at the City Ground.
🗣 “It looks like they’re in a real fight now to be in the top 4.”
Jamie Carragher believes Manchester United have to be wary of Newcastle in the race for the top 4 👀 pic.twitter.com/gq1B4dH19M
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 17, 2023
Isak first cancelled out Emmanuel Dennis’ opener on the stroke of half-time with a sublime volley and later kept his nerve to bury Newcastle’s stoppage time penalty.
Keen to focus on the rest of his game, Carragher added: ‘Isak got his goals and that’s what we judge strikers on, but I don’t feel he’s just a goalscorer.
‘There’s a lot more to his game. He wasn’t flustered to take the penalty and he does everything you want from a top striker.’
Meanwhile, ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville admitted he has been impressed by Newcastle’s ‘measured’ approach to business following the club’s Saudi takeover in 2021.
He fears his old side will miss the experience of Casemiro at the base of Erik ten Hag’s midfield when they face Newcastle, with the Brazilian set to serve a four-match ban following his red card last week.
‘United will be without Casemiro in the next four matches which will make a big difference and Newcastle are now in a position where they can make a good push,’ Neville said after the match.
‘This is the time to hit form, but there’s still a long way to go. Eddie Howe won’t be getting carried away, but he will feel more confident after the last few days. It’s a really tough run in for Newcastle.
‘Chelsea, Tottenham Liverpool, other clubs have had disappointing seasons. What I like about Newcastle is it’s been a measured transition in the way they chose their manager and brought players in.
‘There’s some pretty solid characters in that dressing room. They’ve got a great chance.
‘I’m stunned as to where they are this season. I thought they would be seventh or eighth. Well done to Eddie Howe, well done to the players, and it looks like they’ve just turned a corner. Isak is on a roll. He’s really important to them. Callum Wilson is going to struggle to get into the team.’