Eddie Howe relayed the message he gave to his players in the dressing room after the 5-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. The focus has already shifted to Friday night’s encounter with Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James’ Park, but Howe is keen to keep one of the toughest days of the season in some sort of context.
After a second-half slump, the mood was understandably bad in the locker room after the game, but Howe chose not to tear his players apart. Instead, he reminded them of the standards he set when he arrived in November and asked to focus on the series of season-defining home games at Tyneside this week.
Howe told Chronicle Live: “I think that’s an important thing for me (not to sink too low) and for everyone connected with the club. These results can happen against the quality of the opposition that we were playing. .
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“That’s not to say my expectations of the team aren’t high, they are. I’ve made that clear to the players. I don’t think there’s any point in going hard or negative in any direction. I think we have to focus on what’s to come.”
Newcastle will face a Wolves side that have won three out of four Premier League games with only a remarkable lack of concentration against Leeds, in which they lost a 2-0 lead, wiping out their notebooks.
But for United, they know a fiery St James can help them take a big step towards safety. Friday night price? A chance to establish a 12-point lead over the bottom three, at least for a day.
Howe continued, “What’s ahead of us is a key week ahead. As you say, we’re in a position that maybe we didn’t expect. Hopefully if there’s a positive ahead, that is just a little jolt and a reminder that we can’t get ahead of ourselves at all.
“We can’t think we’re better than we are right now. We have to fight and fight for every point and win those points, they won’t be given to us.”