NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe believes Newcastle United have proven to the Premier League that they are not “dead and buried’ in their fight to avoid relegation.
The Magpies ran out deserved winners at Elland Road as a Jonjo Shelvey strike was enough to see Howe’s men claim a precious three points — only their second top-flight victory of the season.
Howe is of the belief that his players proved a point to those around them with the Leeds United win — and is hopeful the result can spark a late-season transformation.
“I think you always learn things about your players, win lose or draw,” said the United head coach.
“We showed there is resilience in the team, we are fighting for each other. They are fighting for the club. They have belief they are not dead and buried. There is more to come.
“I am so, so pleased for everyone connected with Newcastle that we won the game. Hopefully it can transform our season.”
One criticism levelled at United in recent weeks has been their inability to see out a football match.
In fairness, it is a stance backed up by the statistics. No other Premier League team has lost more points from winning positions — 21 — this campaign.
While they faltered at home to Watford seven days earlier, they were in no mood to do so in Yorkshire.
Howe added: “Everyone to a man contributed to that win. An incredible intensity to the game, but there always is when you play Leeds.
“We had to really be very good physically and we suffered some injuries. It was an heroic effort in the sense that we committed everything to the game. I thought the players were outstanding.
“I am massively impressed with the players. That was a big test after last week (1-1 draw with Watford). I think the pleasing thing was, we had a 1-0 lead and it wasn’t backs to the wall. We looked the most likely team to score.
“We counterattacked very, very well and I did think we looked a threat in the second half. We did not surrender possession in space, we kept looking to attack.”
Goalscorer Shelvey has also faced criticism from fans for his below-par performances in the St. James’ Park defeats to Cambridge United and the Hornets in recent weeks.
However, Howe thinks he answered his critics with his match-winning show at Leeds.
Howe said: “He is hugely important. He is the central player, the supplier in possession. He started a lot of our attacks and has a creative eye. He has a really good range of passes.
“Shelvey intercepted the ball a number of times and I think that is a really good marker. He stopped a lot of their attacks. I was really pleased with him. I’m sure if you ask him he will admit that’s the hardest part of his game.”