Eddie Howe praised Miguel Almiron’s growing confidence after watching him blast Newcastle to a 1-0 Premier League win over Everton to answer his critics in style.
The Paraguayan international found himself on the wrong end of a jibe from Manchester City playmaker Jack Grealish at the end of last season but has scored five goals so far this season, four of them in his last four games.
Asked about £21million for signing Almiron’s response, head coach Howe replied: “I don’t think Miggy is motivated by anything other than trying to do his best for Newcastle and for the fans who absolutely and to love right.
“For me he gave me everything from day one, very committed to the team. He is a real team player and gets the recognition he deserves. You cannot underestimate the quality of the goals he has delivered for us.
“I don’t think I noticed a difference in his character. He’s been very consistent – that’s a strength – he’s been very happy every day, very happy to be part of the team, has very close friends in the squad.
“What I’ve noticed is a real confidence in his training, in his technical execution of what we’re asking of him – I think that’s definitely improved.”
Almiron’s latest contribution proved crucial on a night when the Magpies weren’t at their best but still emerged with a third win in four tries.
His 31st-minute shot was too good for England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, although his side had to fight through to the final whistle to take the points that kept them sixth in the table.
When asked about that elevated status and what it might mean for the rest of the season, Howe said: “I don’t think we’re necessarily going for longer-term goals for the season, we’re just trying to do our best every game.
“We don’t put any pressure internally other than to do our best and try to win every game.”
While Howe was content with a hard-fought win, opposite number Frank Lampard lamented a first-half penalty challenge that went unanswered after Anthony Gordon went down under Dan Burn’s challenge.
He said: “My concern is that everyone will look at Anthony and immediately dismiss any penalties.
“If it’s a foul, a shove in the back and a touch with the foot, that’s a penalty for me. VAR is here to re-look, this ‘clear and obvious’ thing is a gray area we don’t need.
“It’s a penalty or not, and personally I took it as a foul.”
Lampard was happier that striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin had 73 minutes under his belt in his first start of the season at Tyneside.
He said: “We have to deal with him and hopefully we’ll get to a stage where that’s less the case, but with certain injuries reappearing I think it’s only right that we handle him a little differently.
“We may have limited some of his actual front-line placements, which for a number nine is clearly something you want to do all week, but we have to prioritize his overall fitness so we managed that.
“But now we’ve seen him on the pitch – and I thought physically he’s looking good – now we can get that last bit and then hopefully it can start to take care of itself.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/eddie-howe-miguel-almiron-jack-grealish-paraguay-frank-lampard-b2206512.html Eddie Howe thinks Miguel Almiron ‘definitely went up a level’