'There is no magic wand' - Eddie Howe prepares for tough relegation battle at Newcastle

New manager says he wants team to play entertaining football while keeping one eye on the target

New Newcastle manager Eddie Howe on Wednesday said he is aware of the expectations at the Premier League club after their Saudi-led takeover and is ready for a tough relegation battle.

Speaking for the first time since replacing Steve Bruce, Howe said: "I've had some good conversations with the owners but it's all about the short-term. The aim is to stay in the league, that's my main focus.

"Absolutely confident [team can avoid relegation], but I make no promises on that. I'll give everything to the club. I believe we have the ability in the squad but it's going to take a lot of hard work and sacrifice."

Newcastle face relegation rivals Norwich and Burnley early in Howe's reign before daunting Christmas fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

"The task ahead is huge," said Howe. "It is a very difficult challenge. I'm under no illusion. We have a very difficult fixture list in December

"All we can do is look at the horizon, try to win the next game and try be better prepared for the next game after that. There is no magic wand. It will take a lot of hard work to instill what we want in the players quickly."

Howe replaced Bruce at St James's Park after his predecessor departed by mutual consent in October, 13 days after the ownership changed hands. The 43-year-old former Bournemouth boss was appointed on Monday and took his first training session the next day.

The Magpies are second bottom in the table after failing to win any of their first 11 matches this season.

Howe, whose first game will be at home to Brentford on November 20, knows there is huge pressure. While stressing that he did not want to look too far ahead, Howe said he wanted his side to play entertaining football.

"I feel I have a good idea of the teams strengths and weakness... the game is always about how much you commit one way or the other but if you watch my Bournemouth teams always tried to play on the front foot and play brave attacking football," he said.

"I want to play football that entertains and excites and I think that is the type of football Newcastle fans want to see."

Howe confirmed that Jason Tindall, Stephen Purches, Simon Weatherstone and Dan Hodges will make up his backroom staff while Graeme Jones, who was appointed caretaker boss following Bruce's departure, will also be part of the team.

While he has never managed a club of Newcastle's stature, he said his time at Bournemouth, whom he led from the fourth tier to the Premier League during two spells in charge, would stand him in good stead.

"At Bournemouth the existence of the club was under threat if we failed - that is huge pressure," Howe said.

"It's a football club going out of business. I really felt that pressure and I lived it every day. What an education that was for a first job."

Updated: November 10th 2021, 5:28 PM
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