NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has dismissed Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Newcastle United transfer jibes ahead of their Premier League meeting.
The Magpies take on the Saints at St Mary’s tomorrow evening, looking to extend their unbeaten run to nine top flight matches.
The fixture was originally due to take place on Jan. 2, but a request from United to postpone it due to a COVID outbreak was accepted by the Premier League.
That decision infuriated Hasenhuttl, whose side were due to face Newcastle when they had won just once in the top flight and were in the midst of a relegation battle.
He made a number of outlandish statements claiming that players the Magpies signed in the January transfer window should not be allowed to play when the fixture came back around.
And, as expected, the rearranged encounter has a whole different complexion, with United seven points clear of the bottom three and having won five of their last six games. Three of the five players Howe signed in winter trading are likely to start on the south coast.
The Newcastle head coach, though, is not worried about what the Austrian has to say, preferring to continue to focus on the things he can control within the United dressing room.
“I didn’t know he made those comments, I’m hearing them from you,” Howe said. “We followed the protocols as did every team. It was unfortunate the game was called off, we wanted to play it. In terms of the signings, the rules are the same for everybody.
“No team talk of mine will be based around that.”
In the aftermath of the call off, an enraged Hasenhuttl told the press: “I was disappointed we couldn’t play, because we have been in good shape.
“I don’t think it is really fair for them (new signings) to play in games that have been postponed. We should think about it because of the integrity of the league.”
And while he has taken some criticism for the bizarre nature of the rant, the former RB Leipzig boss doubled down on his claims, when asked again about the issue today.
He said: “(It is) strange now to concentrate on a game you should have played two months ago against a completely different team.
“But it is what it is, how things are changing, but this doesn’t affect us, definitely not. (We are) also better than two months ago, so we are ready for the challenge,” he said.
“It’s not on me to discuss this, we spoke about there being a chance in the transfer window to change the team completely. I think they did,” Hasenhuttl added.
“It was expected they would do it but no matter what players are coming here, we are looking forward to this home game.
“We have our crowd behind us, we have a very good atmosphere in our stadium, we have a good run and we are going here with all the belief we have built up.
“You can be sure that we will show a reaction from the Saturday game.”