Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has warned his players not to expect Leicester to arrive on Tyneside suffering a European hangover.
The Foxes head for St James’ Park in the Premier League on Sunday fresh from Thursday evening’s 2-1 victory over PSV Eindhoven in Holland which secured their place in the Europa Conference League semi-finals.
However, if Newcastle were hoping those exertions might dull their edge, head coach Howe knows from experience that is unlikely to be the case.
He said: “I’ve been in this situation before where we have played teams that have played in Europe and to be honest, my experience is it doesn’t have too much bearing on the next game.
“They’ve got a squad to cope, a very good group of players. They’ve had a lot of injuries throughout the season, but they’ve now returned so the squad looks a lot stronger, and they’ve got a manager that’s very experienced in managing that situation.
“As I said, in my experience it’s never really influenced the next game at all, so we expect a full-strength Leicester, who are in very good form.”
Newcastle bounced back from a run of three successive away defeats with a much-needed victory over Wolves last Friday night which left them 10 points clear of the relegation zone and within touching distance of safety.
January signing Bruno Guimaraes made his first home start for the club in that game to rave reviews, cementing his blossoming reputation with a commanding individual display and finding himself at the centre of an enduring image as he lifted a ballboy over his head during the celebrations of Chris Wood’s winning goal.
"I think the celebration with the ballboy just reflects his softer, human side. He's a really good person and he cares about other people. It was a really nice moment for the ballboy and he'll remember that for the rest of his life." pic.twitter.com/AHfr2CdjXl— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 15, 2022
Asked about the 24-year-old Brazilian, Howe said: “He’s a really, really great lad. He’s got a really unique mix about his personality, so he’s very friendly, a very happy guy naturally, mixes really well with his team-mates.
“But he’s also got a steely determination that when he enters the training pitch and the match pitch, he changes into someone that’s desperate to win and he’s a real competitor, so he’s got a great personality for football.
“The incident with the ballboy just reflects his softer side, his human side. He’s a really good person and he cares about other people, so that was a really nice moment. The ballboy will remember that for the rest of his life.”
Howe could have midfielder Joe Willock back from a knee injury, but winger Ryan Fraser is a doubt after limping off with a hamstring problem last weekend.
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