Eddie Howe press conference: Brentford game a massive day for everyone connected to club
"I can say with all honesty, I have seen the training ground and I have seen my hotel. I haven't seen Newcastle in the light yet! So tomorrow will actually be the first day when I step into Newcastle when it's daylight."
The delights of Tyneside will have to wait for Eddie Howe. As he said this morning, it's been work, work, work for Newcastle United's new head coach since he was given the job earlier this month.
His first game in charge is tomorrow, against Brentford at a sold-out St James Park. This morning, Eddie gave his first pre-match press conference as Magpies Boss. Here are the key points:
It's been busy. Very busy. Everything has been focused on getting the players ready for the game against Brentford.
Eddie Howe and his coaching team have their own football philosophy. They like their team to play a certain way. That way is different from the way Newcastle United have been playing under Steve Bruce and then Graeme Jones. So the last week and a half has been a balancing act between teaching new ideas and principles and not overburdening the players with too much new information. The conclusion here is that the Newcastle team fans see tomorrow will not be Eddie Howe's finished article.
He's under no illusions about the situation they're in. Newcastle United are second-bottom of the premier league. They've got 5 points, and no wins, from 11 games. It's the worst start the club has ever made to a league campaign. It's got to get better very quickly.
Paul Dummett is out injured tomorrow. Pretty much everyone else is available, but the players who've been on international duty have less chance of starting the game because they've missed important time when the new coaching staff was laying down the groundwork. So the likes of Fabian Schaar (Switzerland), Jamal Lewis (Northern Ireland), and Miguel Almiron (Paraguay) may have to wait for their chance under the new boss.
Howe admits the goalkeeping position is a big call. Martin Dubravka, the club's first-choice goalkeeper, hasn't played for Newcastle this season because of injury. He's now fit again and played a full 90 minutes for Slovakia against Malta during the international break. In Howe's own words this morning: “Is he 100 percent fit? That remains to be seen. That was his first game in a long, long time, so I’ve got a tough call to make there.”
Howe has the utmost respect for tomorrow's opponents Brentford and their head Coach Thomas Frank. Especially after they coped with the disappointment of losing the 2020 Championship Playoff Final and won promotion by winning the 2021 playoffs.
Howe hasn't had much communication with Amanda Staveley or the rest of Newcastle United's new ownership group in the last 10 days. They've left him to get on with the job.
Speculation is growing that the Magpies are close to appointing a director of football. Michael Emenalo, who held a similar role at Chelsea, has been tipped for the job. Eddie Howe worked with a Technical Director in his previous job at Bournemouth and he's comfortable with that type of management structure.
Eddie Howe will never get a second chance to make a first impression on the St James Park crowd and, in many ways, this makes tomorrow's match one of the most important in Newcastle United's recent history.
They need to win, it's as simple as that.
Just before Howe was appointed, I had a go at predicting the Magpies results for the rest of the season, to illustrate how serious this relegation battle is.
I had this game against Brentford down as Newcastle's first Premier League win of the season.
They need to feel the relief of a first victory of the season, the crowd needs to be enthused by a first win for the new man in charge, and, most important of all, The Magpies need points on the board.