HomeEddie Howe: Newcastle players' futures on the line

Eddie Howe: Newcastle players’ futures on the line

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Eddie Howe has told his Newcastle United players they are playing for their futures on Tyneside ahead of Tuesday’s FA Cup clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Newcastle’s second full season under Howe has not gone to plan, with a lengthy injury list preventing the Magpies from kicking on after they qualified for the Champions League last term.

They exited that competition in the group stage and now face a fight to secure continental qualification of any kind, sitting ninth in the Premier League table with 12 games remaining.

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Newcastle produced arguably their worst performance of the season on Saturday as they were routed 4-1 at Arsenal, and with the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules making summer sales a possibility, Howe will face plenty of big decisions in the coming months.

Asked whether his players need to remember their futures are on the line at Monday’s pre-match press conference, Howe said: “I can’t disagree with that sentiment.

“There have been performances where we’ve not been at our best which you can understand. We were disjointed, had players out of position, no substitutes, relying on 11 players continually.

“That game was different. We just did not perform and we have to take responsibility for that. That performance stands alone this season.

“The others, there has usually been a reason for it and we can work out where the performance has come from. For whatever reason, every aspect of our game was off.”

While Newcastle’s ambitious owners – led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – have made silverware a key aim with the club’s last domestic cup triumph coming in 1955, the FA Cup could also offer Howe’s men a ticket into Europe.

Howe believes the competition could hold the key to turning an underwhelming campaign into a memorable one, saying: “We are still in the throes of deciding where this season ends up.

“This season can still be very special for us. Nothing is decided for or against us. I definitely want to squash that feeling that we are feeling sorry for ourselves because that has negative connotations.

“We need the players excited and ambitious, thinking brightly about the future.

“Of course, qualifying for the Champions League last year was unbelievable, but if we can’t make that again, then we have to look for the next best alternative.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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