Howe wants to harness positivity on Tyneside
Written by Tom Easterby
Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe says he wants his side to harness the positivity, enthusiasm and energy on Tyneside as they get set to kick-off the new season against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
United get 2022/23 under way at St. James' Park (3pm kick-off) amid a wave of excitement, following their Howe-led revival after the change of ownership last term.
And United's head coach told reporters that wants the "feel-good factor" to continue as he sat down for the first media briefing of the new campaign at Newcastle's Benton training base on Friday morning.
Here's what else Howe had to say ahead of this weekend's curtain-raiser:
On Nottingham Forest, who returned to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs after a remarkable resurgence under Steve Cooper:
"We've had a good chance to watch them both last season and in pre-season. They're dangerous opponents, Forest.
"I think Steve Cooper deserves a huge amount of credit for the job that he did. If you look at their league position when he took over to the end of the season, the job that he did - not only missing out on automatic promotion, but then to deal with that disappointment and then to come through the play-offs, it's an incredibly difficult thing to do. He's done it in a very attractive style of play. They'll be difficult opponents for us and we don't underestimate them at all.
"They've made a number of good signings so their squad is deep. We're prepared for a very difficult game."
On youngster Elliot Anderson - who has impressed during pre-season - and his immediate future:
"I'm looking at daily progression. He's come into the group, almost as a new signing for us, and I've seen a big elevation in his overall performance. He's come back very fit, tactically he's fitted into our systems of play, and he can play different positions as well. He's a very useful player for us to have. We really like him.
"He's a great character as well. He's quite quiet within the group, but has a very steely determination to do well for him and the team. We like him a lot.
"As we stand now, he would not be going anywhere. He will be an integral part of our squad this season."
On Jonjo Shelvey, who sustained a hamstring injury during the pre-season friendly against Benfica in Lisbon, and his side's other injury concerns:
"Jonjo is in London tonight for another assessment so we don't have a clear, defined timeframe for you on his injury. He's probably the big one to have come out of pre-season.
"We've got Jamal Lewis and Fede Fernández who are working their way back to fitness, and they shouldn't be too long. (Javier) Manquillo's back in training with us and looking good, so we're not too bad, apart from Jonjo."
On summer signing Sven Botman, who could be handed a competitive Magpies debut against Forest:
"I think he's ready to play. We've seen him during pre-season, as probably you all have, and what a talent he is. I think he's going to be everything we hoped he would be.
"He's technically very good, very, very strong physically, very good defensively. But we look at every player individually and try to make the right call for them and the team. What I'll do with Sven, you'll find out. But I've been so pleased with the signing."
On the start of a new season and the fervour and anticipation in the city:
"Positivity enthusiasm, energy - we're going to need all of those things at the stadium, especially in our home games. I embrace that and encourage that from our supporters.
"I think for the players, it's a dangerous thing sometimes - we've've got to be cool, calm and collected, and stick to our processes, the important things behind our performance to make sure we win the game. If we win the games we have coming up, hopefully the feel-good factor can continue throughout the season."