The word Eddie Howe has banned at Newcastle ahead of crunch run-in and truth over dismal December

Eddie Howe admits that Newcastle United looked in danger of losing their way in December after some difficult away days and a tough home defeat to relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest.

Back then a bad patch of form also coincided with Kieran Trippier suffering some serious lapses of concentration and poor defeats at Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Luton Town. With teams starting to suffer wobbles and faltering in the heat of the European run-in, with West Ham now suddenly looking vulnerable, Howe was asked if fatigue is a factor for his side and their rivals at the end of a long hard campaign.

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Howe said: “That (fatigue) is not a word I’d use in the build-up to any game. Your mind can drift in lots of different ways and I think we have to be very strong with the players.

“Certainly against Tottenham we did not look fatigued. There was a spell in December where we found it tough going with the injuries and the schedule. Now we are in a different vein of form. We want to play the games.”

Newcastle, somewhat remarkably, have climbed from 10th place into sixth since they lost 3-2 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. More notably they can turn a two-point deficit into a five-point cushion on the faltering Hammers if they beat Crystal Palace, and they will still have a game in hand.

With seventh place now looking like a Europa Conference League spot, Howe will be keen to lock in a place in continental competition. By the time West Ham kick off their next game, Newcastle could be eight points ahead of them if they beat rock bottom Sheffield United.

Howe said: “We have got ourselves back in a very good position from being quite a long way off. We have to make sure nothing derails us, focus and stay mentally strong, focusing on the individual game we have ahead. A couple of bad results and it swings back the other way.

“That can happen to anybody because the quality of the Premier League is so strong. Wherever you go, we have four away out of six and that is tough in itself. Our away form hasn’t been as strong as we want it to be. So we have challenges ahead and only we can answer them.”

But Howe can’t doubt the quality of his side in a season in which Paris St-Germain were beaten and Borussia Dortmund, with both European adversaries reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, were beaten. Howe’s side have also beaten the teams around them in the Premier League at home such as Chelsea, West Ham and Manchester United and they’d be good value if they grab a Europa League spot.

Howe said: “It wasn’t lost on me that both of those teams (Dortmund and PSG) have qualified for the semi-final. It gives more credibility to our group really. Not that it needed it. We knew when the draw came out that was as hard as we could get.

“We felt during those games they were two very good teams. So of course part of you goes back and thinks ‘what if?’ Things could have been very different. But you have to live with the hear and now and we are very much getting on with our own situation.”

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/word-eddie-howe-banned-newcastle-29043794

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