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Eddie Howe will never be content with efforts to improve Newcastle

Eddie Howe file photo
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Eddie Howe has insisted he will never be content with his efforts to improve his Newcastle team.

The Magpies eased themselves out of the Premier League relegation zone as a result of Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over Everton as they took their return from their last four games to eight points, a significant improvement on the 10 they managed to collect from their first 18 outings.

That, coupled with a £90million January recruitment drive, has raised hopes that they can get themselves out of trouble during what remains of the season, but head coach Howe is in no mood to relax.

Asked how far along in the project he was as he prepared for Sunday’s home clash with Aston Villa, he replied: “We’ve got a long way to go to be the team that we want to be, but we’re working towards that.

“I don’t think that process will ever change. I’m never going to sit here and say, ‘Right that’s it, we’ve cracked it’.

“Football doesn’t work like that. You’re always shifting and changing and adapting and moulding and trying to improve areas of the team.”

The victory over the Toffees, which came courtesy of arguably their best performance of the season to date and was their second in succession, had the feeling of a watershed moment, but the feelgood factor will soon dissipate if results turn once again.

Howe, whose side last won three league games on the trot in November 2018, said: “The players have needed that, in all honesty. They’ve worked really, really hard for me and my staff and they’ve given everything.

“When you’re in that moment when you continue to give, to give, to give and be professional and do everything right and preparation, you feel, has been good, you need the results at the end of it just to give you that validation of that effort.”

Sunday’s game will pitch Howe into battle with Villa counterpart Steven Gerrard, a young manager for whom he has great respect.

He said: “He’s got all the credentials to go on and manager at the very, very highest level and achieve whatever he wants to in the game.

“He’s done a great job already at Rangers, he’s come into Aston Villa and made a big impact in a short period of time. He’s someone I haven’t come up against yet in terms of playing against one of his teams, but from afar I’ve watched his work and been very impressed.”

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