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Bournemouth vs. Newcastle - Eddie Howe: Pre-Match Press Conference

Golden nuggets from Howe before visiting Bournemouth in his return to Vitality Stadium

Newcastle United Training Session Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Let me tell you something.

Newcastle needs to qualify for whatever European competition it is by the end of this season. Not because the club needs to experience any more growth after the Saudi-backed takeover and the board investment in the Magpies organization. No.

It’s all about our own thirst for more and more Toon football, which we’d love to happen two times per week instead of one.

The return from the World Cup break was highly insane and made us all work more than ever, but it also helped us live in a steady rush of sky-high feelings, mad dreams, and wild thoughts. If we were not consuming the matches on the telly we were doing it on the interwebs by reading articles, reports, news, and features. We were writing those pieces ourselves, talking about what ifs, discussing transfer rumors, but more than anything covering games two times a week and always moving from one matchup to the next one in superbly quick succession.

Now, with just one game played per week, things seem to be moving at a snail's pace. That needs to change, I say!

But before getting too much ahead of ourselves, let’s take this step by step and secure that long-wished-for Euro place once and for all starting with another good outing against Eddie Howe’s former club in Bournemouth this Saturday evening. And judging by past (1-1 in the EPL) and recent (1-0 in the EFL Cup) results, things look mostly good.

Howe took to the microphones and addressed the most pressing questions by the media on Friday, ahead of the matchup against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11.

Eddie Howe might be coming off managing his 600th match last weekend, but this one feels even bigger with it happening at the place where he truly built his name: Bournemouth, South West England, UK.

“It’s difficult to predict how I’ll feel walking out at a stadium I know so well.”

“We’ve been preparing as normal, we’re just preparing the game as we would any other game.”

“[Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium] is a special place to play football when it’s rocking.

Focusing on what will take for Newcastle to defeat Bournemouth, which they couldn’t do in the return fixture last September:

“It’s very important we don’t look at [their season-long form]. Let’s look at what they’ve done in recent weeks.”

“They’ve signed some very good players. This is a different Bournemouth team than we’ve seen in recent weeks.”

This game, of course, comes after Newcastle saw Southampton off the Carabao Cup but failed to extend the winning run by drawing 1-1 against West Ham last Saturday, which Howe discussed in his presser.

“We were disappointed not to win against West Ham, so there was that feeling that we needed to do better in certain aspects.”

“We’ve tried to refine that and put it right to find the missing ingredient to try to get us winning games again.”

While Allan Saint-Maximin played against West Ham starting his first game in many weeks, he had a divisive outing with some supporters liking what they saw but others not entirely convinced by his performance and liking what Anthony Gordon offered off the bench more. Howe shared his opinion on the form of the Frenchman and also touched on the newcomer and former Toffee.

“Maxi is someone who performs better with a consistent run of games. He has a window to impress (with Bruno being suspended and Joelinton in the midfield trio, there is an opening on the left wing for ASM to getting playing time there).”

“Some aspects of his game were good last week. There was no lack of effort from him, but West Ham managed him well.”

“(Gordon had) a really positive debut last week. The first impression you give the supporters is such an important moment.”

“I did some one-to-one work with him on Monday and he trained with the group the rest of the week. He’s shown some really good signs.”

Alexander Isak missed a few days after suffering a concussion but he seems to be now fit and ready to go from this weekend on.

“Isak is fully recovered. No problems.”

“Initially when he got hit by the ball he didn’t feel too bad but we had to follow protocols.”

Two men will miss this game with an injury, while Bruno will go through the second game of his three-match suspension after seeing a straight red card in the Carabao Cup semi-finals against Southampton last week.

“Manquillo is getting close.”

“Targett will be out, he is close to training but we haven’t seen him yet. He’s worked hard on his rehabilitation with the physios and he’s getting close to returning to the group.”

News broke earlier this week about Newcastle United re-acquiring Strawberry Place’s land adjacent to St James’ Park. The club is already planning to build a fan zone for supporters of the team while also thinking about a potential expansion of SJP taking advantage of this new terrain acquisition.

“St James’ Park is an unbelievable place to play football. To be part of that experience every week is a brilliant thing.”

“Anything we can do to enhance the experience, I’m fully behind.”

“If there is an opportunity to expand (SJP), I don’t think we’d have a problem selling tickets.”

Keeping it business, Howe was asked about Amazon’s All Or Nothing-type documentary getting filmed to showcase the inner workings of NUFC. It had been rumored a few months ago but the filming was reported again earlier this week and Howe confirmed the documentary is indeed a work in progress.

“We have cameras following us all season. There’s been a big step up in that respect.”

“From my side, there’s always a line you don’t want to cross. Intimate things that should stay in house.”

“But we’re prepared to give access to people as long as it is planned.”

Also, for those still looking for a Carabao Cup final ticket, Howe doesn’t (probably) have any more left in his cupboard.

“I’ve had requests from all sorts of people. People I’ve never met.”

“I’ve been getting text messages from people where I don’t know their number. Can you get me a ticket?

Finally, Howe provided a little update and offered his support to former Magpie and Cherrie Christian Atsu and his relatives, affected by the earthquakes from earlier this week impacting multiple Turkiye and Siria regions.

“(The news were) hugely worrying.”

“Really, really enjoyed working with Christian (at Bournemouth). Great lad, great player.”

“It’s been difficult because there has been conflicting stories about his whereabouts. It’s been tough and I can’t imagine how his family is feeling.”

“We wish him and hope for a positive ending. Our thoughts are with him and his family. We hope for good news. We’re really concerned for his welfare.”

Here’s hoping this nightmare has a nice ending for Atsu and all of the folks around Turkiye and Siria going through this hell. The little clips that pop up daily on the news are truly awful and hard to stomach, so our thoughts and feelings are with those suffering from the earthquakes.

The Magpies enter this weekend still sitting 4th and inside Champions League places but just one point above Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.

The Spurs' position in the standings is kinda fake, though, as they have played one more game than Newcastle to date so NUFC can move four points clear of them when the dust settles with a victory against the Cherries.

On the other hand, sixth-place Brighton had 34 points but have played one fewer game than Newcastle so two wins by the Seagulls and a loss by the Magpies would have them tied at 40 points with 22 games in the books.

Anyway, too much math involved in there with most teams still having to play 17 more games. Let’s just beat Bournemouth last the lads did last December, trump ManU in the table, and go from there. Simple as that.


  • Date: Saturday, February 11th
  • Kick-off: 17:30 BST / 12:30 EST
  • Location: Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth (England)
  • Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — Peacock, NBC, SiriusXM FC, UNIVERSO (USA) — Sky Sports Main Event, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Ultra HD, SKY GO Extra (UK)

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