The Magpies start the first of their last three games of the season on Sunday with a trip to Premier League leaders Man City and Eddie Howe is calling for improvements from his side
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Newcastle United could finally be mathematically safe from relegation this weekend should results go in the right direction, but they face a tricky trip against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Magpies lost their first home game of the year to City’s title rivals Liverpool in a narrow 1-0 defeat last weekend as they missed a chance to climb further up the table.
And after that loss to the Reds, Eddie Howe has told his players they “have to be a lot better” if they are to avoid the same fate against the leaders and lose a second game in a row.
He told Chronicle Live: “We weren’t at our best (against Liverpool), we weren’t at our top level. But we were still in the game until the end. So there is something positive, but we set our standards very high. I was a bit disappointed with the overall performance. We need to be a lot better next week.”
The Magpies manager hasn’t shied away from making high demands of his side as their impressive revival has virtually guaranteed their safety in recent weeks. Insisting that every game is “considered independently” regardless of opponent, Howe nevertheless gave his players a few days off earlier in the week to rest and recharge their batteries.
Newcastle United via Getty Image)
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The Northeast side have evolved from a team destined for relegation amid a worrying relegation battle to one now desperate to claim a first-half finish. It feels like the Magpies will be disappointed if they don’t finish in 10th place.
They currently occupy that bottom spot in the top half of the table with just three games left, but with two of their last three games against Man City and Arsenal and a final-day struggle at relegation-threatened Burnley, it won’t be easy.
When asked what it takes on his part to get a first-half result, Howe said: “Attitude from everyone from the staff to the players. We have to fight for everything and show that we are competitive at every moment. We still want points and we still want to get promoted in the league. That’s what I’m looking for in the last three games.”
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