Eddie Howe has challenged his Newcastle players to book themselves another crack at the Champions League after seeing them slip out of Europe in dramatic fashion.

At one point on Wednesday evening, the Magpies were heading for the last 16 of European football’s premier club competition, but they ended it empty-handed after AC Milan came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win at St James’ Park.

That booked them a Europa League berth and ended Newcastle’s continental involvement for the season, but a disappointed Howe is targeting a swift return.

He said: “I’d love the opportunity to do that again and I think that has to be our focus very quickly. I don’t think we can look at anything other than that.

“We want to be there again and we’re still close enough in the Premier League to do that and compete. All these things happen for a reason, I’m a believer in that.

“The ambition is there, of course. It’s there from all of us – but doesn’t mean it’ll happen. We have to make that happen.

“Any time you don’t achieve what you want, you have a setback, you have a disappointment, you have to use it as fuel and that’s very much has always been my way.

Newcastle lost 2-1 at home to AC Milan as their Champions League dream slipped away

“The pain that you feel now is motivation for tomorrow. We now have to focus on the Premier League and have to try to make sure we get our form in the Premier League as strong as we can.”

The defeat by Milan – the Magpies’ third on the trot in all competitions – came courtesy of goals from Christian Pulisic and substitute Samuel Chukwueze after Joelinton had blasted them ahead.

They will resume domestic action against Fulham on Saturday sitting in seventh place in the table, seven points adrift of Manchester City in fourth.

While their domestic home for has been excellent, Newcastle have won only once on the road and with their injury problems starting to abate – Callum Wilson, Sean Longstaff and Dan Burn were all involved against the Italians – Howe is calling for a fresh focus.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe has experienced how quickly football can change

He said: “I don’t want a hangover from this. We have to learn from it and quickly put it away.

“The players need to believe how good they can be, how good we are and this is a good test of that for us because of what’s happened in the last week.

“Football is an amazing thing, isn’t it? You go back 10 days and we had just beaten Manchester United with our best performance of the season. Then three games later, we’ve had three defeats.

“That’s football.”