Newcastle United: Howe demands Magpies focus with European place at stake

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Eddie Howe is targeting a strong end to the season with Newcastle United still hoping to qualify for Europe.

The Magpies slipped to seventh in the Premier League on Wednesday night following a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace but will hope to get back to winning ways this weekend with relegation-threatened Sheffield United the visitors to St James’ Park.

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Seventh may be enough for a place in the Europa Conference League, although sixth place could be required.

Howe said: “We must learn and absorb all the lessons from Wednesday.

“We were disappointing, we acknowledge that and hold our hands up to it.

“We missed those resilient qualities that we need and that has been too often the case away from home. We have to do better.

“Every game is so difficult, it is up to us to firstly go into the game with the right mentality and let our players express themselves in the right way. We have to finish the season strongly, we are under no illusions on how important these fixtures are.”

Like many other teams in the Premier League this season, Newcastle have suffered with injuries but there was some good news to come from the game at Palace with striker Callum Wilson playing the last 25 minutes.

Howe added: “Callum came through fine, I thought he looked good and worked well with the lads around him. He had a couple of dangerous moments, that was a positive from Wednesday.”

On Nick Pope, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron, he said: “They are getting closer. Nick is beginning to start his early training sessions with us. He has started to be with outfield players in shooting drills.

“Joelinton has seen a specialist and is working on his own programme. Miggy is there or thereabouts and could be back next week.”

Howe is braced for a summer of speculation regarding Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimaraes whose release clause of £100million expires at the end of June, leaving the club to negotiate a potentially higher fee.

Howe said: “Having that [clause] was well planned and structured by the club, in a sense that there’s a sort of finish point. We don’t want constant speculation, it’s not healthy for the player or for us.

“It goes without saying we want to keep him, I want to build our team around him. His form has been very good and he seems very happy and settled.

“He’ll be thinking about a very busy summer ahead, where hopefully we can take the team, with him a big part of it. But we aren’t in control of that so let’s see.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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