NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe said on Friday that any talk of Newcastle United winning the Premier League and the Champions League are long-term goals, and he does not feel any added pressure as a result of recent, very public title predictions of title successes by Amanda Staveley.
After the 2-0 defeat by Manchester United in the final of the Carabao Cup last Sunday, Staveley, a member of the club’s board of directors, shared an emotional moment with the players in the royal box at Wembley. Then, on Monday, she made some bold claims during an interview with radio station TalkSPORT.
“We will win the Carabao Cup, we will win the FA Cup, we will win the Champions League and we will win the Premier League,” she said.
While many of the Newcastle faithful took her comments in a buoyant, positive spirit, it did cause some to wonder whether it had put the pressure on Howe to deliver such success.
However, the h, although he pointed out that such title-winning goals are not short term in nature.
“I love Amanda's positivity, I love her outlook,” he said. “I’ve got no issue with it, with the statements.
“All I’d say is, from my perspective, there’s no time limit on that because if we set targets that are maybe too short term, that can have a negative effect and it can build external pressure that the players don’t need.
“I want the players to play free and not really think too much about the consequences. In order to do that, it’s my job to try to take the pressure off them, so that’s what I’ll try to do.”
Staveley doubled down on her comments at the Financial Times Business of Football summit in London this week. During the event she also talked about the thinking behind the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia’s decision to buy Newcastle and not one of the Premier League’s traditional big six clubs, and the assurances that were given that the nation’s authorities would not have control over the day-to-day running of the Magpies.
“The undertaking was that Saudi Arabia would not control the club. That undertaking has been, and is being, honored,” she said.
“I can’t speak for PIF but I don’t see that (Saudi interest in Manchester United). Looking specifically at Newcastle, we were very clear that we wanted a club with a passionate fan base. We’ve got that. And we wanted a club we could buy affordably. We didn’t go for the wonderful Tottenham, Chelsea or Liverpool because why spend billions?”
Some critics have called for the Saudi takeover of the club to be reexamined but Howe does not want to become embroiled in such discussions.
“I’m not going to comment on that; I’m not the right person to ask,” he said. “For me, my job is training the players, trying to get them in the best physical, mental, tactical condition to win the game.
“The minute I deviate from that is the minute I go into dangerous waters for me, and I waste energy in areas that don’t help the players. For me, my main job is to coach the players and get them in the best place possible.
“I’ve always got a channel to the owners. I’ve got regular communication with them, not necessarily on those subjects, but on the team and how to improve them.”