Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe spoke to reporters following the absolute demolition of Sheffield United beating them 8-0 on the road and before returning home to host Man City in the first game of the Carabao Cup for both squads this season.
Last year, NUFC fell 90 minutes short of lifting the trophy after losing 0-2 to Man Utd in a game (but not a day!) to forget. This season, things are getting tough early as the third-round draw paired the Magpies with Pep Guardiola’s Boys.
Gotta earn what you want, I guess.
Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.com
On summer signing Barnes’ injury, which saw him replaced by Anthony Gordon inside the opening 12 minutes at the weekend:
“It’s an injury to part of the foot just below the toe. I think it’s quite a substantial injury. We’ve had it scanned, we’re waiting now for a specialist opinion on what to do next, whether there’s surgery involved or not.
“I think it was just (Barnes) pushing off to run - a very unusual injury. I won’t go too technical because I’m not medically qualified to do so, but very unusual.
“We feel like it’s going to be... I don’t want to put a timescale on it until we get confirmation from the specialist but I think it’ll be months rather than weeks.”
On his team news following three games in quick succession, including last week’s Champions League draw at AC Milan:
“We’ve got a couple (of knocks) in there, a few players, naturally from the three games. It’s such a big physical effort - I know I say it a lot but a three game week really does test you. It’s something we’re going to have to get used to but we’ve got a few issues.
“I think we will use the squad; I say ‘think’ because it’s not finalised in my brain what we’re going to do yet. I need to assess everybody physically first from the game we’ve just had - a couple of players have been carrying certain things, so we’ll need to manage them.
“But we do have players that are really keen to play and show what they can do. I think I have to utilise the squad, especially with what we have coming up not just at the weekend, but then midweek next week. And as I’ve said many times, we want the players to enter the pitch in the best physical condition to showcase their skills, so that’ll be the same again tomorrow.”
On Sunday’s win at Sheffield United, which equalled the club’s biggest Premier League victory and saw eight different players get on the scoresheet:
“Initially after the game, the feeling was very good in the dressing room. The atmosphere has always been good around the group, the spirit’s high, but nothing can replicate scoring goals, feeling good about the team.
“The team was really, really good at the weekend (with) difficult scorers as well, so to be able to see that we’re not reliant on one person. I thought the team functioned really well, there was a confidence and a really nice rhythm about the team and long may that continue. You score eight in one game, you hope we haven’t used all our goals up, but it was great to see.”
On three consecutive clean sheets against Brentford, AC Milan and Sheffield United:
“We work on our defensive side every day, as we do on the ball. We try not to neglect anything. There’s been a big push for us to defend properly but I don’t think that’s ever gone away. It’s not something we’ve ever taken our eye off.
“We have our set way of working where we do the work that we feel the team needs going into each game. I think there’s been a real steeliness in the last three displays. There’s been an improvement in our general shape.
“Of course, Nick (Pope) was outstanding against Milan which helped us to keep a clean sheet that day, but sometimes you’ll need different things to keep the opposition out and who knows what it will be tomorrow. But those qualities are so important to us.”
On the Carabao Cup - a competition Newcastle came so close to winning last term only to lose out to Manchester United in the final at Wembley in February:
“It’s an important competition for us. Last year was amazing for us. We started against Tranmere, which was an incredibly difficult game. It seems a long time ago now, but you have to go to some tough places in the early rounds and we’ve got the ultimate test coming up in the (third) round this year.
“So it’s a totally different tie to last year, but we will give it every importance. We will try as hard as we can to progress because we want to try and compete every competition. We’re certainly not dismissing it as anything other than the most important game.”
On Manchester City, who won every major domestic trophy other than the Carabao Cup last season and are the current champions of Europe:
“I think it’s the draw that no-one wants because for me they’re the best club team in the world and have been for some time.
“Regardless of what team they pick, they’ve got world class players; they’ve got for me the best manager in the world as well.
“So I think the test is there for us. We don’t underestimate it but we also want to attack it and show that we have strength in depth as well and we can compete on various fronts. I think this is an ideal place to try and show that.”
- Date: Wednesday, September 27th
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST / 15:00 EST
- Location: St. James’ Park, Newcastle (England)