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Newcastle United face UEFA questions as weather dents Champions League preparation for AC Milan

MILAN: Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has played down suggestions his side’s Champions League preparations have been dented by the Lombardy weather.

The Magpies’ flight into Milan Malpensa was delayed by two and a half hours, meaning the club’s media duties at the San Siro on Monday had to be pushed back. The delay meant they fell foul of UEFA regulations, and could face sanction for not delivering interviews in a timely fashion on the day before a game.

The players were held on the tarmac at Newcastle Airport for around two hours before forecasts in Milan eased, with the San Siro in particular hit with heavy rainfall, thunder and storms.

While Howe admits it was hardly ideal preparation for the club’s first game in the Champions League for two decades, against AC Milan, he does not believe it will make any difference when the sides get down to action on Tuesday evening.

“It was a weather problem. We were delayed taking off and we were sat on the runway for quite some time. But that is nothing out of the ordinary for us. We do a lot of traveling in the UK and this happens from time to time. Apologies for being late,” Howe said when asked about the delays by gathered press pack.

“It is just part and parcel of the job that we do. It can happen at air traffic control, this was a weather problem. We have been in similar situations before. It has been a long day for us, early start and late finish. So we have just been trying to get our preparation and gameplan right. Trying to make sure we are as organized as we can be. It has been intense as after the Brentford game it was all focus on this one.

“There is no (concern) we are used to it. Slightly later than we would have liked to arrive for the players but it’s not