LONDON: Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has expressed his relief as his Magpies side recorded their first Premier League win since Aug. 6.
A double from Paraguayan forward Miguel Almiron and goals from Sean Longstaff and returning Callum Wilson ensured United headed back to Tyneside with all three points after recording a 4-1 win against 10-man Fulham in west London.
The hosts had Nathaniel Chalobah dismissed after just eight minutes for a mistimed tackle on midfielder Longstaff.
And while Howe was disappointed with the blotting of Newcastle’s copy book by Bobby Decordova-Reid late on, he found it tough to dwell on the negatives, as his side climbed to seventh in the English top-flight table with the win.
“I don’t want to focus on any negatives. It was all positive from us, a really good performance from the group,” said head coach Howe.
“We knew we needed to win. Yes, there was a sending off, which certainly helped us, but even before that, I thought there was a good feel about the team. I thought our body language, attitude to the game was spot on.
“It (the win) has been a long time coming. We have had a long wait for the second win of the season.
“Right from the start we had a good feeling, with good energy, and created chances early on. Obviously, the red card made it easier, but I am very pleased with the players’ response. Their attitude — we wanted more, we weren’t happy with what we had, always trying to score.
“It’s been a very difficult two weeks, obviously we have had the international break with players going away, but we have also had a bit of illness in the camp, so it’s been a mixed two weeks, but it didn’t show in our performance,” he added.
The Chalobah card turned the game on its head in many ways, even though Newcastle were well on top against the Cottagers.
And while opposite number Marco Silva hit out at the decision, Howe’s instinct was that it was the right call by referee Darren England, after guidance from the video assistant referee room at Stockley Park by Mike Dean.
Howe said: “It’s difficult. I haven’t seen it again. My initial feeling was it’s high and whenever there’s height and force and the player’s safety is in danger. I thought Sean was lucky to get up from that one. That’s without seeing it again, so I might stand corrected, but the referee probably had a similar view by giving the red card.”
Portuguese Silva was not of that mindset, instead pointing the finger at yet more refereeing inconsistency in the Premier League.
“(It was) a harsh tackle from Nathan at that moment,” the Cottagers boss said.
“It was clear to him it was a yellow card and of course, after the decision from Mike Dean, it changed everything completely.
“To take one decision like that and advise the referee differently is strange.
“It was a harsh tackle, but the problem is I haven’t seen consistency on this. It made the afternoon look strange for us and I’m sure in the next few weeks, we’ll see more tackles like that, and it’ll be a yellow card and VAR will decide it will be OK.
“That is tough for us to understand because there is no consistency with these decisions, and it makes people like me and the players not understand.
“It made things easier for Newcastle. Our first half was not at the level it should be.”