Skip to main content

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe believes off-field problems will not hinder Chelsea

Southampton v Newcastle United – Premier League – St Mary’s Stadium
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will prepare for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea insisting the crisis into which the hosts have been thrust will have little impact on the pitch.

The reigning European and world club champions have been plunged into uncertainty by the sanctions imposed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich, but the Magpies’ head coach is not expecting Blues counterpart Thomas Tuchel and his players to be affected by the turmoil.

Howe said: “I don’t think it will have any bearing on Chelsea and how they play.

“For us, you can’t change our preparation in any way. I’ll be watching Chelsea historically and trying to build a game plan to try to go there and win, so I don’t expect anything on the pitch, really, to be any different.”

Chelsea certainly showed few signs of distraction on Thursday night when they powered their way to a 3-1 win at lowly Norwich at the same time as Newcastle were extending their unbeaten league run to nine games with a 2-1 victory at Southampton.

That sequence of results, which includes six wins in the last seven, will be subjected to the sternest test yet at Stamford Bridge, but a return of 21 points from the last 27 available – the Magpies had taken only 10 from their first 18 games – is tribute to the job Howe has done at St James’ Park since replacing Steve Bruce in November.

The 44-year-old, who is refusing to accept that fight for top-flight survival is over, said: “We walked into, eyes wide open, a massive, massive club, but we were in a very, very difficult position and still are, so I’m learning every day.

“I’m loving the challenge, trying to embrace that as much as I can. The staff that I have with me have been incredible, they’ve done a brilliant job – and that’s everyone, that staff that I took with me and the staff I inherited, I love everyone at the club.

“Hopefully we can go on a really good journey together and enjoy ourselves.”

Howe has doubts over Allan Saint-Maximin, who missed the trip to the south coast through illness, and Joelinton, who sat out with a groin strain, but will travel buoyed by three wins at Stamford Bridge in his five Premier League visits as Bournemouth manager.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed three of those games of the five – I didn’t enjoy the other two very much – but it is a very special place to play. We’ve enjoyed our encounters there.

“Every time we have with Bournemouth, we’ve got everything right and it’s that kind of game, you need to get everything right or you won’t get anything from it.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1