The Toon is back at it, folks. Taking the weekend off after dropping Saturday’s game to UEFA Champions League finalist Liverpool, and after attending the Lady Magpies game on Sunday on St James’ Park grass, the training sessions are in full gear. Makes sense, with psychology-hit Manchester City hosting Newcastle next Sunday as they try to bounce back from their defeat against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Speaking to the media, coach Eddie Howe made something very clear: he’s a little mad at last weekend’s overall effort from the lads in black—but he’s positive about the final outcome looking promising for the future of the Toon:
“We weren’t at our best (against Liverpool), we weren’t at our top levels. But we were still in the game right until the end.
And that’s pretty much correct. If you read my match report from Sunday’s game, I highlighted that and it was the tone I really used back then. Was it a loss? Yes. Did Liverpool dominate Newcastle? Of course, by the numbers. Were the Magpies atrocious? Well, given the opposition they were facing and the final result, I would say no, they were not bad at all and a little lucky bounce here or there could have just made it a leveled game.
That said, there is a lot of margin for improvement, and Howe 1) knows it and 2) is going to push as hell to get the folks there:
“We set our standards very high. I was slightly disappointed with the general performance.”
“Next week we have to be much better.”
Also, if you’re reading this and actually work for Newcastle in any capacity, watch out. Howe had words and shots for everybody out there even remotely close to United’s organigram:
”Attitude from everybody, from staff to players [is needed in the last three games]. We have to compete for everything and show that we are competitive in every moment.”
“We still want points and still want to climb the league. So that’s what I’m looking for in the last three games.”
Uh, oh, flex on the lazy. Eddie knows he’s in front of a huge chance of proving people wrong in the remaining three weeks of play before the curtain falls and we move on to the most important summer in Newcastle’s history.
The Magpies can still finish the season with anything ranging from 43 points to 52 if they win out the remaining games in their schedule. That’s a little bit of a dream, though, with Manchester City this week and Arsenal coming to St James’ Park two Mondays from now. The three points in the last game of the season against Burnley should be easily gettable, and that 46-point tally would, in the worst of cases, have Newcastle sitting 12th or 13th.
Any extra point won against the two top-4 sides that the Toon will face next would be an absolute delight. And hey, it’s not that you can ruin a title race every day, is it?