Eddie Howe has completed his pre-season match schedule, with Nottingham Forest next weekend arriving at St James’ Park.
Two matches at home in a 24 hour period, with the NUFC head coach picking two completely different starting elevens.
A 1-0 win on Friday night over Atalanta, followed up by a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
A very satisfying weekend’s work.
Beating two very decent teams despite dividing his first choice team, was an excellent return.
However, after a quite frankly hysterical reaction from a small minority of very vocal Newcastle United fans to the single goal defeats against Mainz 05 and Benfica, Eddie Howe had the perfect answer to them, making clear what the reality of what the situation is: ‘I’m reluctant to draw too much from pre-season. I think pre-season is used for lots of different things and if we’d lost the games we wouldn’t be looking at it negatively. I still think it is nice to win, it is a nice habit to get into, I’ve got no complaints. I want to win…but I wouldn’t read too much into it.’
The over the top negativity from some fans was laughable after losing to Mainz 05 via their own threat on goal all game, when Newcastle had been marginally the better team. Then after playing well against Benfica and scoring a couple of excellent goals but conceding from a couple of set-pieces, very unlucky to lose in the last minute when down to ten men after Joelinton’s red card.
Great to see the attacking players getting amongst the goals in these final warm up matches, with Wilson, Wood and ASM all taking their chances really well and hopefully confidence riding high now the real stuff begins.
Unlike certain previous NUFC managers / head coaches…I really like the fact that Eddie Howe doesn’t go over the top when Newcastle win, nor make ridiculous excuses and blame others when things go the other way.
What a relief to have somebody in charge once again who we can respect and have belief in.
Eddie Howe interviewed by NUFC TV after the 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao:
“How encouraging is it to win two games in two days against teams who have competed in Europe in recent years?”
“I’m reluctant to draw too much from pre-season. I think pre-season is used for lots of different things and if we’d lost the games we wouldn’t be looking at it negatively.
“I still think it is nice to win, it is a nice habit to get into, I’ve got no complaints. I want to win…but I wouldn’t read too much into it.
“Next week…we now need to prepare very well. We’ve got a tough game against a very dangerous team (Nottingham Forest), so we need to be ready, but I feel pre-season has gone as well as it can go.
“I thought the game took a similar pattern to last night (1-0 win over Atalanta), I thought aspects of the first half were very good. Really good atmosphere, I thought the crowd were very important for us today.
“Scored two really good goals and then (Athletic Bilbao) substitutions changed the tempo of the game and we came under pressure, but I thought we dealt with it very well.
“A good vibe around the ground, I thought Callum (Wilson) took his goal very well, a really good team goal. As I say, the first half I thought in spells we played very good football, we looked fit, intense, and ready for this game against high quality opposition. Similar to last night – top team, top manager.
“We have played two elevens and came out with two wins, that can’t be underestimated.”
Newcastle 2 Athletic Bilbao 1
Wilson 5, ASM 54
Newcastle team v Athletic Bilbao:
Dubravka, Krafth, Lascellles, Botman, Dummett (Bondswell 70), Bruno (Matty Longstaff 89), Joelinton, Willock, Ritchie, ASM (De Bolle 89), Wilson (Munoz 90)
Gillespie, Stephenson, Turner-Cooke, A.Murphy, Miley
Attendance – 46,856
(Match Report : Newcastle 2 Athletic Bilbao 1 – Plenty of positives – Read HERE)
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