icon_corner icon_start_stop enlarge2 icon_start_stop icon_start_stop icon_post icon_miss icon_save icon_card_red enlarge2 icon_save icon_start_stop icon_card_yellow attack icon chevron-down icon chevron-left icon chevron-right icon chevron-up icon cross icon defence icon icon_disallowed_goal email icon facebook icon google icon instagram icon linkedin icon messenger icon pinterest icon play icon plus-thin icon plus icon search icon soundcloud icon sub-in icon sub-out icon icon_sub tweet icon twitter icon icon_user__out icon_user_out vimeo icon whatsapp icon icon_start_stop youtube icon

Latest News

'He's saved us' - Sean salutes Howe's impact

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Sean Longstaff hailed Eddie Howe and the Newcastle United boss’ coaching staff after the Magpies capped off a remarkable second half of the season by beating Burnley to clinch an 11th-place finish in the Premier League.

United hadn’t won a single game – in any competition – ahead of Burnley’s visit to St. James’ Park in December, just a few weeks into Howe’s reign. Since then, they have racked up 42 points from only 24 games, a return that ranks among the very best in the division.

Callum Wilson’s brace – the first a penalty – did the damage at Turf Moor. Coupled with Leeds’ win over Brentford in West London, the Clarets’ reverse on their own patch meant their six-year spell in the top flight was brought to an end.

On a desperate afternoon for home supporters, Longstaff admitted that some of the emotion in the stands – ebbing and flowing according to events at the Brentford Community Stadium – made its way down into the thick of the action. First, though, he heaped praise on Howe – whose part in relegating one of his former clubs was one of the lesser-recognised sub-plots on a dramatic final day of the Premier League campaign.

“To be honest, from the moment the manager and his staff came in, what they’ve done and what they’ve created has been unbelievable,” he told nufc.co.uk. “It’s so, so special. I don’t think it’s lost on us as players how lucky we’ve been to have him come in. He’s saved us and for us to finish 11th from where we were, on the first day he came in, has been unbelievable. The credit goes to him and his staff for bringing all the players together and it’s just been a privilege to be a part of.

“We knew it was going to be an ugly game when we came here. They make it that way. We’d have liked to have controlled the game a bit more with the ball at times but it’s always hard when they’re fighting for their lives and I thought we did a good job of sticking together. The last 20 minutes, after they scored, it would have been easy for us to crumble, but it just shows what’s been built by the staff and the resilience and the bond between the players, and how we don’t want to let anyone down. It’s a massive result for us. We wanted to come and finish as high as we could, we wanted to win and we’ve done that, and it’s a great way to finish the season.

“We went 2-0 up and were cruising a bit to be fair and suddenly the crowd just got a massive lift from somewhere, and it was a bit strange. It’s the first time I’ve been involved with something like that, but I thought we did pretty well to deal with it. As I say, it would have been easy for us to panic but we did a really good job of sticking with it. The atmosphere was really good – it was really loud. It was weird players shouting to the fans ‘what’s the score?’ (in the Leeds game) and fans shouting back and stuff – it was really strange – but we just had to focus on ourselves and ultimately our job was to come here and get three points, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Longstaff started the Magpies’ final game prior to the club’s headlining takeover last October, when Steve Bruce’s United side went down 2-1 to Wolves at a rain-soaked Molineux, a result which left them below Burnley in the table and staring down the barrel of a long, arduous struggle against the drop.

In the event, though, Newcastle have survived with plenty of room to spare, even registering their best points tally in the Premier League since 2013/14.

“Up to December, it was really tough,” Longstaff reflected. “I think people were down and when the manager came in, he walked into a dressing room that was a little bit despondent and a little bit fractured and what he’s been able to do is bring everyone together and bring everyone to another level.

“At the start of the season I always said that I thought our squad was really good and obviously we brought in some top players in January, and they’ve been a massive help. The players that were here, (Howe) has got so much more out of them and it just shows how good we can be. We’ve been part of a team that didn’t win for 14 games and no team has ever stayed up after that, so to be a part of that is really special. It’s a great group. To be honest, we’re a little sad that it’s over – with the run-in we’ve had, and every day in training the banter and togetherness has been unbelievable. We knew we had to stay up and obviously it’s a really exciting time going forward.”

"It’s so, so special. I don’t think it’s lost on us as players how lucky we’ve been to have him come in."

Sean Longstaff

Recommended for you

Breaking News

Dismiss Close
Enable Recite