HomeHowe urges Newcastle to 'fight back'

Howe urges Newcastle to ‘fight back’

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Eddie Howe is hoping January will be a month in which Newcastle “fight back” from their recent struggles.

The Magpies exited European competition and the EFL Cup, as well as suffering league defeats against Luton and Nottingham Forest, during December and the schedule appears challenging over the next few weeks.

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They go to Premier League leaders Liverpool on Monday before a tricky-looking trip to bitter rivals Sunderland in the FA Cup, followed by clashes with Manchester City and Aston Villa.

A run of poor results will ramp up the pressure on Howe but the former Bournemouth boss is viewing the games as an opportunity.

He said: “It has been a difficult period. December was always going to be tough for us and we were aware of how important the month was going to be.

“We’ve gone out of two competitions we were determined to do well in, so the players have had to respond to some difficult moments and that’s probably played a contributing factor in the last two results.

“They’ve been the ones that have hurt us the most, in terms of our performances haven’t been where we want them to be.

“We have to be really strong and you have to stand up and be counted and respond. There’s two ways of looking at January. For me, it’s an amazing month and a great opportunity to fight back and show our qualities.”

One positive for Howe was the return of midfielder Joelinton against Forest, the Brazil international coming on for the final 20 minutes after overcoming a hamstring injury.

Howe added: “Whenever you lose a player of Joe’s quality you realise how important they are. When he came on, he showed what he brings. His ability in duels and to bring that fight in midfield is something we missed in the game so fingers crossed we can keep him fit.”

Newcastle have a poor record against Liverpool – they haven’t won any of their last 14 meetings – and Howe knows his team will have to be at their best to get anything at Anfield.

“We’ve had a couple of painful games against Liverpool but the positives from both of those games is that we’ve performed really well and we were competitive,” he said.

“We need to be near perfect in this game. The challenge for us is to find our best form and mentally be very strong.”

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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