Eddie Howe hails competition for places as Newcastle continue to flourish

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace – Premier League – St. James’ Park
(Image credit: Owen Humphreys)

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe believes the competition for places in his squad has been crucial after their comfortable 3-0 win at struggling Norwich lifted them into the top half of the Premier League.

Joelinton scored twice before his compatriot Bruno Guimaraes secured all three points with a cleverly-lofted lob over the goalkeeper early in the second half.

Howe made four changes after two hard-fought wins against Leicester and Crystal Palace, but credited those he brought in.

“I was really pleased with the guys who came in, I thought they did refresh the team, I thought they looked very good physically today for certain parts of the game and also I thought it was very healthy for the group as well,” the Magpies boss said.

“I thought it shows that we do have a capable squad and we do have options to choose from and competition for places as well which is absolutely vital.”

Howe was also delighted with the energy of his side in the midst of a congested run of fixtures.

“I think the boost today for us is the fact that we came here off the back of a tough week and performed,” he said.

“It would have been very easy for us to drop our levels today from a physical perspective but full credit to the players. They were hungry for another win and I’m delighted with them.”

Norwich remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League table and are slipping closer towards another relegation straight back to the Championship.

However, manager Dean Smith insisted his side do still have confidence.

“No I think they (have) belief and confidence, I thought we started the game well, passed it well,” Smith said.

“Last week Teemu (Pukki) goes and takes his chance and this week the keeper does well and forces him wide and sometimes it’s just those moments at this top level that you’ve got to be good at.

“As I say I didn’t think it was a 3-0 but we’ve certainly helped them today with their goals.”

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