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Eddie Howe vows to keep calm as Newcastle get set for key run of fixtures

Eddie Howe file photo
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Eddie Howe has insisted he cannot afford to be caught up in the emotion swings of Newcastle’s fight for Premier League survival.

The Magpies looked to have dragged themselves to the brink of safety with an eight-game unbeaten run which included six wins following the turn of the year.

But they sit just seven points clear of the drop zone as a result of three successive defeats and Burnley’s 3-2 victory over Everton on Wednesday.

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A difficult run-in gets under way on Friday evening when they entertain Wolves at St James’ Park.

But Howe, who was keeping both feet firmly on the ground as the most optimistic of fans contemplated an unlikely push for Europe just a few weeks ago, remains similarly measured as the pessimists start to fret.

He said: “Look, I embrace the wins and I love that positive feeling, and I want to see other people happy, I want to see our supporters enjoying success. That’s my motivation to do the job.

“But I don’t think it’s healthy for me to get caught up in it and become a person of extreme emotion, I don’t think that’s going to help my players at all, so staying calm, using my brain to think logically and intelligently, I think, are the things that I need.

“When we went on our unbeaten run, I was the same, probably sat here and you’re thinking, ‘Come on, give us a bit more’. But then on the other side of it, I’m exactly the same.

“It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the emotion because I do. Losing for me is very painful, but it’s important I don’t get caught up in it because then I’ve got another game to prepare for, so it’s making sure I do my job effectively to help the players perform in the next match.”

If defeats at Chelsea and Everton arrived in unfortunate circumstances, the second-half capitulation which contributed to a 5-1 demolition at Tottenham has prompted soul-searching on Tyneside and an acceptance that the performance was simply not good enough.

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Asked if the players had seen a different head coach this week, Howe, whose side faces Wolves, Leicester and Crystal Palace in back-to-back home games after four on the trot on the road, admitted as much.

He said: “Certainly this week, without going into too much detail, I’ve maybe changed the way I’ve dealt with the players or certain situations because I didn’t like what I saw in the second half and I think no-one connected with the club liked what they saw in the second half.”

Howe, who may have to wait until November for Dan Ashworth to be installed as Newcastle’s director of football with Brighton understood to be demanding £5million to release him from his notice period, dismissed speculation that the club could be willing to sell Frenchman Allan Saint-Maximin this summer.

He said: “He’s an incredible talent and yes, of course he has a long-term future at the club.”

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