NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has described opposite number Marcelo Bielsa as one of the “best managers in world football.”
The Magpies head to Leeds United’s Elland Road looking to secure only their second win of the Premier League season — and Howe says that his side will not experience another challenge like that of facing Bielsa & Co. in their quest to secure safety.
“He is one of the best managers in world football,” Howe said of the Argentine. “He has an idea, and it is not the norm. And I think anyone who has those strong beliefs and does things differently has my full respect. He has been successful and taken his ideas to a lot of clubs.”
“As a student of the game I have seen a lot of his work. I like his ideas. A lot of respect for him.”
The Whites are often criticized for their cavalier approach, with goals at both ends the norm for Bielsa’s men.
Howe doesn’t quite see it that way, though.
“I don’t think they are completely gung-ho. I think there is a lot to admire about Leeds’ out of possession work. It is really intriguing,” he said.
“They play with a really high intensity and we have to match that. With the ball they have their set patterns, which are very effective.
“This is a very unique game, there is no other game in the Premier League like Leeds’ — and we have to be ready for it.”
All the talk in the build-up to the game has been in relation to transfers, with frustration building that early-window progress has not been followed up with yet more positive business.
United signed Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood in the opening fortnight of the window but have done nothing for the past nine days.
And while Howe is frustrated himself, he still thinks it is more about getting the right players in, not just any players, even with the Magpies’ plight so desperate.
“Positivity, leadership, a winning mentality. You have to try to bring those characters into the group. Because I think if you don’t, the dynamics of the group can change for the negative,” said Howe on transfers.
“New players don’t guarantee improvement. They have to be the right players. And the two we’ve brought so far have done that. “They’ve brought a positive energy.”
And what about those currently in the squad?
“I encourage them not to look at it,” he said of the constant transfer talk. “But if they do see it, they should not take it as a slight. We are wanting to bring players in to improve for the benefit of everyone.”
“The most important people at this football club are the players we do have.”
Meanwhile, the Magpies are set to take on Al-Ittihad on Friday as part of their warm-weather training camp in Saudi Arabia.
The game is reportedly set to take place at the Prince Abdullah Faisal stadium, Jeddah.