EDDIE HOWE claims Newcastle’s performance against Nottingham Forest has established a template for how he wants his side to play this season.
The Magpies were purposeful and industrious throughout as they claimed a 2-0 win to secure the perfect start to the new campaign at St James’ Park.
Howe’s players were committed and energetic out of possession, pushing Forest’s players back and winning the ball back high up the field, and creative and inventive when they had the ball, creating a number of good opportunities.
Howe was delighted with his side’s performance, and is hoping to see it repeated on a regular basis over the course of the next nine months.
The Newcastle boss said: “I think today’s performance would be a great example of where we want the team to be on a consistent basis.
“As I keep saying, we’re in a difficult league, and every team we play will set up to try to stop us. You have a battle to try to impose your style on the opposition, and today, I thought we did that well.
“We saw our style come out, and although there’s no guarantee that will be a constant theme, I want it to be. It’s what we’ll be working towards, but every game is different. You have to find a way to win sometimes, and I have no problem with winning ugly. Whatever it takes.
“We’re not the finished article yet, we’re still very much in the growing phase, but I was very pleased with what I saw.”
Newcastle were unable to make a breakthrough despite dominating the first half, and Howe was preaching patience as he delivered his half-time team talk.
His players stuck to their task after the interval, with goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilsomn eventually securing a deserved three points.
Howe said: “We needed to be patient. It was a brilliant performance from us, I thought. From start to finish, I was very pleased.
“But at half-time, that game was still very much in the balance despite our dominance. We hadn’t scored. Nottingham Forest had defended well, and we hadn’t been clinical enough in certain moments, so the main aspect of my team talk was to make sure that we didn’t lose our discipline and search for that goal in a disjointed way.
“Thankfully, we didn’t. The players went out in the second half and the flow of the game was very similar. We got rewarded in the end for that patience.”
Schar’s opener came courtesy of a sensational strike, with the centre-half hammering home from the corner of the penalty box.
Howe said: “It was an incredible strike, from a player who does the unconventional. A centre-back shooting from that range? I probably wouldn’t have reached if it was me playing!
“He’s capable of doing things like and producing special moments. I was questioning his decision to hit it, but I was delighted when it hit the net. We sort of needed a goal like that to break the deadlock. We’d created a number of chances, and hadn’t taken them. It took a long-range goal to get us going.”