WORK TO DO: Howe puts Newcastle’s Christmas party on hold
PA - Richard Sellers
Eddie Howe has put Newcastle’s Christmas party on hold as he plots a path out of Premier League relegation trouble.
The Magpies finally won their first league game of the campaign at the 15th attempt last Saturday when they got the better of fellow strugglers Burnley to climb from the foot of the table, but head coach Howe has insisted this is no time to celebrate as they prepare for Sunday’s difficult trip to Leicester.
At the end of a week when Christmas parties have been very much on the front pages of the newspapers, the 44-year-old is determined his team will occupy the back pages for what they do on the pitch.
Howe said: “I don’t think this moment is the time for the players to be having a Christmas party.
“We have had a gathering this week of staff and players, a meal together, but I don’t think with: one, the fixture congestion; two, Covid and three, our league position, it is the time for that.
“I will be trying to get the message to them to focus on the work and the games. That takes priority over anything else.”
For all there was delight at St James’ Park last weekend as the duck was finally broken, Howe and his players are under no illusions as to the task ahead with a trip to Liverpool and home clashes with Manchester pair City and United to come after the game at the King Power Stadium.
However, Howe said: “We just have to look at the Leicester game in isolation, and it’s a tough game. It’s away from home against a very strong opponent, really well managed with some very good players.
“But we have to take confidence from our recent performances, the feeling that we had on Saturday and try to get that feeling again.
“You look at the work it took to win that match from the players, the physical outputs it took – we’re going to need to hit those heights again.”
He added: “We have had one win and we need to back it up, we need to make sure that is not an isolated event. It’s very difficult with the fixtures we know have to come, but we are looking at all the markers in our performances and try to improve that every week.”
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