It’s time for another weekend of footy, folks. In advance of Sunday’s game against Manchester City at the Etihad, Eddie Howe addressed the upcoming match by meeting the media on Friday morning.
Newcastle is entering the last three games of its season—quite a tough stretch, all things considered—with other peripheral issues surrounding the club these days, so this was expected to be a packed press conference touching on everything from the plans to beat Pep Guardiola’s side, to the injuries of Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson, and even what is going to happen with Jesse Lingard and the heavy rumors speaking of Newcastle’s chase of the Manchester United castoff.
Howe started the press conference addressing Paul Dummett’s new one-year deal with Newcastle.
“He’s a great personality. He’s Newcastle through and through. It’s very important that the characters in the squad are of the highest quality and he is. He has a lot to offer on the pitch as well.”
Moving onto more pressing questions, namely those regarding player availability, Howe had words for all of Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier, and Fabian Schar.
On Callum Wilson:
“He’s trained all week. He’s trained very well, he had two really tough days and he’s come through them well.”
“He’s put a lot of work in to get to this point. He looks in a good place and there’s a good chance he’ll be involved on Sunday.”
On Kieran Trippier:
“Kieran is slightly behind Callum in that he hasn’t trained every day but when he has trained, he’s done very well. We’ll make a late decision on him.”
On Fabian Schar:
“We haven’t seen him this week. We hope he’ll be back to be available but he’s not trained yet. He got a knock on the top of his foot so he went for a scan after the Liverpool game because it was swollen up but fortunately there’s no fracture.”
Then, of course, the controversial quotes from Allan Saint-Maximin made the widely expected appearance among the crowd of reporters. In case you missed it, ASM was quoted claiming that “the day I have a player able to finish the actions, I will make seasons with 10-15 assists, and I will change dimension in people’s heads” when talking for So Foot magazine. Of course, there were all sorts of opinions poured over Twitter, other websites, and your local pub yesterday, so it made sense to have Howe explaining the situation. As Keith Downie reports from the press room:
“You’ll probably need to ask him what he meant, but I don’t think it was a criticism of his teammates. I accepted and [am] happy with his explanation. In no way did he mean to damage the unity we’ve built. We’ll be speaking to the squad to make sure there’s no fall out.”
ASM himself took to Twitter early on Friday to clarify the situation.
The interview I did with Sofoot has been taken out of context and shortened on Twitter. I never said anything negative about my teammates, I simply said as any Newcastle fan would that I was looking forward to having an even better team so that we could progress collectively 1/2 https://t.co/p8CDR8fke8— Allan Saint-Maximin (@asaintmaximin) May 6, 2022
With the Etihad hosting the Magpies this Sunday and Manchester City coming out of a crushing defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, the question was obvious—and the answer too, considering what Howe said after the game against Liverpool last Saturday.
“From our perspective, we will 100% prepare for the best Manchester City so we’ll have to be the best Newcastle we can be.”
“Looking back to last week [against Liverpool], that was the disappointing thing that we just lacked a bit of intensity.”
Eddie Howe also had a few words for the Lady Magpies, giving them some very well-deserved plaudits.
“I did get to the game and it was a great occasion. The support that the team got was incredible & you could see there was a great connection with the fans. Congratulations to Becky [Langley] & her team for their performance.”
Keep an eye on Coming Home Newcastle as we’ll be bringing you the best possible coverage in advance of Sunday’s clash against Manchester City, and the usual thoughts and reports after the final whistle late Sunday and Monday.