Eddie Howe is determined to rebuild Newcastle upon a foundation of respect.
The former Bournemouth boss took over at St James’ Park in November last year and has since guided the club out of the thick of the battle for Premier League survival and into a position where, while the danger is not yet over, they can see a way towards safety.
That process has been aided in no small part by a January spending spree which saw Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes and Matt Targett added to the squad and more new faces are sure to follow, but Howe insists all employees will have to buy into the culture he is attempting to instigate.
The 44-year-old said: “The culture of any organisation will determine its success, so how people interact with each other, and you can stimulate that just with little things to try to get people talking and mixing in different groups.
“Everything we do is trying to create a better working environment, create respect – I think ‘respect’ is a huge word – between staff and players and players with themselves, and knowing that we’re all there for the same purpose.
“Although the players will be earning millions of pounds and big names, everyone is important, young or old, staff member or player. Creating that environment is absolutely key.”
To that end Howe, who takes his side to Tottenham on Sunday, has asked his players to talk individually in front of the group about their backgrounds and private lives to help strengthen the bonds between them.
He said: “There’s a lot I might think I know about a person, but then when they start to talk about themselves and their childhood and certain things that have happened in their life, you find out a totally different view that you by normal conversations wouldn’t find out.
“It’s very healthy not just for me to know that but the rest of the squad, and it can start relationships and conversations about things that normally wouldn’t happen.
“We’ve had some really interesting talks and you find out a lot more about the players’ character.”
Midfielder Joe Willock has spoken of the difficulties he experienced off the pitch after making his move to Tyneside permanent last summer, and Howe admits a pastoral role is a key part of the manager’s job.
He said: “If a player isn’t happy off the pitch, in my experience they’re never going to perform well on it. It just goes hand in hand, so when you an identify a problem, you need to understand what that problem is and then try to find a solution.
“You’ve got to know about your players’ private lives, you’ve got to know do they have kids, what makes them tick, loads of different factors that can go into making a player happy or unhappy off the pitch, and you have got to try to find ways to help them.”
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