Eddie Howe says Newcastle’s trip to Manchester City this weekend represents the Premier League’s ‘toughest test’ for his side.
The Magpies travel to face the league leaders at the Etihad on Sunday, looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at St James’ Park.
That defeat ended a run of four consecutive Premier League wins and Howe is expecting another difficult challenge against a City side that have won the last 12 meetings between the teams in Manchester.
“It’s the toughest test,” Howe said at his pre-match press conference.
“I was a little bit disappointed with the performance last week, I thought we could have played better, but we were still close. I hope we get even closer this time.
“Our weakness against Liverpool was a lack of bite & intensity that we have had in recent months & has been the hallmark of our success. We didn’t give the crowd enough on reflection & we can’t be flat. We have to come out all guns blazing.”
City will also be looking for a response after exiting the Champions League in midweek, losing a dramatic semi-final tie to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Howe admits he is unsure how that loss will impact this weekend’s opponents but insists he is preparing for the best possible version of Pep Guardiola’s side.
“It can work both ways, it can emotionally affect them in a positive or a negative. We have to prepare for the best Man City, so we need to be the best Newcastle we can be. We need more intensity than last week, that’s for sure.”
Howe also provided a fitness update on Callum Wilson and revealed the forward is in line to feature after an extended period on the sidelines.
“He’s trained all week. He’s trained very well, he had two really tough days & he’s come through them well. He’s put a lot of work in to get to this point. He looks in a good place and there’s a good chance he’ll be involved on Sunday.”