Eddie Howe says he is looking to recreate the ‘attacking verve’ and ‘swagger’ of past Newcastle sides.
The fixture evokes memories of the 1990s as the two teams contested for the Premier League title, enjoying several memorable clashes with Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle side remembered as one of the division’s most entertaining sides.
Howe has outlined his desire to return Newcastle to those heights and says he wants to recreate the ‘swagger’ of a Magpies side who became neutral’s favourites during the Premier League’s first decade.
“There’s a lot of memories that spring to mind of those games in the 1990s and just after,” said Howe. “Newcastle tended, at that period of time, to have memorable games against most teams. There are standout moments you think back to; I can still picture some of the goals and the scenes in my mind.
“It’s up to us to try to recreate those times – the attacking verve, the swagger that Kevin Keegan’s 1990s Newcastle had, the flair the individual players possessed and the team identity. It’s something we’re desperate to do. But we’re going to need a little bit of time to see that in full creation. At the moment, we’re still progressing and we have to obviously get the defensive side of our game right before we transition into the team we all want to be.”
Howe spoke on the importance of building attacking relationships and repetitive training, insisting he has seen positive signs from his side in training despite their struggle for recent results.
The Entertainers ❤ pic.twitter.com/NwY0DbHZBW
— Newcastle United Times (@Newcastle_Times) June 1, 2020
The 44-year-old says Newcastle must build combinations in forward areas and become less reliant on individual moments from key figures.
“One of the ways we work is that we attack with relationships,” Howe said. “The only way you build those relationships is by repetition in training, by attacking with everyone together as a team so you know what you’re going to do. We’ve started that work, it’s going on every day. I’ve seen some good things in training, probably not seen as much as we’d want in the matches, but that could be down to the teams we’ve faced lately.
“In recent matches we’ve not had a lot of the ball so you’re mainly counterattacking. And you can’t attack as individuals. It’s not as effective as when you attack together. That isn’t aimed at Maxi [Saint-Maximin] but Maxi is part of that.”
Newcastle have won just once in the Premier League this season, but remain just three points from safety ahead of the club’s clash with the Red Devils at St James’ Park. Howe discussed the club’s current situation and says his side must start delivering results as the Magpies look to escape from trouble.
“You always need to win,” he said. “I’m in the kind of job when only winning is acceptable really because you can highlight positives but ultimately only winning silences any outside noise. And even within the squad, the players need to win; we have to have stability in our thought process.”