NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe admits there’s a feeling of satisfaction about securing Newcastle United’s first three points of the season — but an understanding that this is only the start of their fight for Premier League survival.
Callum Wilson scored the only goal of the game against Burnley as the Magpies climbed off the foot of the table, kept their first clean sheet and claimed their maiden victory this campaign at the 15th attempt.
Howe’s Magpies go to Leicester City next week looking to pull themselves out of the bottom three — a win has the potential to do just that — and the head coach knows his team have done nothing but put down a foundation on which to build.
When asked whether this is the start of a United revival, Howe said: “We hope so. The last two games have given us very different challenges. We had 10 v 11 against Norwich, then this one a much more physical contest. But we have taken things forward.
“We have been defensively better, but there is still work to do all over the pitch.
“I can’t praise them (the players) enough physically and mentally. This was a real physical effort, their third game in a week — and they gave everything.
“There is a feeling of satisfaction with the result but we have to back that up,” he added.
Asked to expand on his emotions, which were obvious to see as he lapped the pitch on the final whistle, fist-pumping toward the fans on the St. James’ Park terraces, Howe continued: “It was a real mixture of emotions.
“I am very proud of the team, in what was a very difficult game against Burnley — we defended well. There were a lot of positives. To a man, we stepped up defensively.
“We started slow, but once we scored that changed. We had spells in the second half where we were excellent, then had to hang on.”
While joy reigns supreme on Tyneside this weekend, December presents a number of potential further bumps in the road.
Next up in NE1 is Manchester City on Dec. 19, coming hot on the heels of a trip to Liverpool just days after the Magpies’ King Power Stadium trip. That is before Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United travel to Newcastle shortly after Christmas.
According to Howe, his players will need every ounce of fan support to get his team through the festive period, one which looks like a nightmare on paper.
“The relationship we’ve built with fans so quickly has been great. I can’t thank them enough,” said Howe of the unwavering home support.
“It was great to get that first win, a big thanks to them (the fans), we know how desperate they were — we all were — to get it is an amazing feeling. The reaction at the end can only galvanize us to move forward positively.”