NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe is expecting Newcastle United to walk into the lion’s den when he takes his in-form Magpies to relegation-threatened Everton this evening.
Newcastle head to Goodison Park looking to get back to winning ways having seen a nine-game unbeaten Premier League run come to an end on Sunday, at the hands of world and European champions Chelsea.
And while points would be more than welcome for Howe’s team, they have been at a premium for Frank Lampard and Everton, who are outside the top flight relegation zone by only goal difference.
Howe said: “I’m sure it’ll be a very big occasion and we have to be fully prepared for what will be a really good atmosphere.
“I think there will be a lot of emotion in the game that we’ll need to handle ourselves and control our start to the game and try to impose ourselves as we have in this spell of away games. I’ve been really impressed with how we’ve conducted ourselves.
“It’s going to be a severe test because Everton have a really good squad of players and I really admire Frank and the work he’s doing so we’re going to have to be at our best.”
Many pundits have called this one a “must win” for the Toffees, who arguably have the hardest run-in of any of the Premier League’s bottom seven.
Howe, though, knows the big picture for Lampard & Co. will not be decided on Thursday evening.
“Every team has games to play and nothing will be decided on this game,” he said.
“We know it’s an important game for us and we’re not concerned about Everton and their situation. That is for Frank to discuss but for me we need to bounce back from the defeat against Chelsea although there (were) positives, we were disappointed to lose so it’s about getting a good reaction to that disappointment and making sure we continue our good performances because the lads, on the road, the last few games have been really, really good and we need to carry on with those types of performances.”
Meanwhile, honoring club legends was not something former owner Mike Ashley was too fond of — and having failed to hand him a permanent contract as manager, Alan Shearer was never top of the Sports Direct tycoon’s wish list.
Ashley went as far as to remove the Premier League record goalscorer’s name from above a bar at the club’s famous Gallowgate End. It was changed to Nine Bar after Shearer left St James’ Park.
And now, in a move that has proven very popular with fans, the club’s owners — PIF, RB Sports & Media & PCP Capital Partners — have changed the name back.
“The little things are huge,” said Howe about the move.
“I talk about this all the time with the players, the little things make the big things happen.
“Details matter, and I’m a firm believer that history matters. Legends and icons that go way back into history, I think they need to be celebrated.
“Alan Shearer is one of the biggest Newcastle icons that there is and he deserves to be celebrated by me and all the supporters.”