Howe tells his Newcastle side to return to their ‘highest level of performance’ ahead of Brentford clash

Eddie Howe manager of Newcastle United Credit: Alamy
Eddie Howe manager of Newcastle United Credit: Alamy

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has urged his side to return to their “highest level of performance” ahead of a tough test against Brentford on Saturday.

The Magpies have endured a difficult start to the season, winning only one of their four Premier League fixtures so far this season and are 14th in the table.

They fell to a 3-1 defeat away to Brighton just before the international break but Howe has called on his side to embrace the challenges ahead of them, starting with Brentford.

“(Brentford is) a game we obviously want to do well in, we know and we understand the game that we’re in, but I don’t want to build it up anymore than it is,” he told a press conference.

“It’s a game we have to approach in the right way, it’s a difficult game, a very dangerous opponent, they’ve got good skills and a good way of playing, got their obvious threats.

“But for us we’ve got to return to our highest level of performance and I think if we do then I back us to get the job done.

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“The challenges aren’t going to go away this year, all through pre-season we had tough fixtures and tough fixtures at the start of the season.

“But with the competitions we’re in there are no easy games, so we have to respond and we have to grow to the challenge.

“For me the only disappointment of the four games has been Brighton, there’s been a lot of highs in there, but we haven’t necessarily seen the result of that work, but I don’t lose faith in the group at all.”

Newcastle will make late calls on whether Sven Botman and Sandro Tonali can be involved at the weekend, while Howe is hopeful Elliot Anderson can be involved.

The Magpies will be hoping the Brentford clash can kickstart their season in what is set to be a busy period of football, which includes their return to the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

They are set to play AC Milan at the San Siro in their first group game on Tuesday and Howe knows his side will adapt to the busy schedule ahead.

“I don’t see it being a huge difference to be honest, you’re preparing against teams that are from Europe rather than England, for me the Premier League is the best league in the world,” he added.

“I think for loads of different reasons the Premier League is an unbelievable league and I love being in it, but now we’re going to Europe, it’s a different competition and different challenges but it’s still football.

“It’s adapting to the period with the intensity of the games, recovery periods, training being different- the actual game itself is the same.”

Howe also extended his thoughts to former goalkeeper and Magpie academy director Steve Harper, who suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage last week.

“Harps is doing well, very shocked to hear the news and all our thoughts are with him and his family,” the Newcastle boss added.

“He’s been a real tower of strength for me personally since coming to the football club, he’s been someone that’s supported me and tried to educate me and help me on everything Newcastle.

“He’s Newcastle through and through and we wish him a speedy recovery.”


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