Eddie Howe is adamant Newcastle will soon break their 14-game winless start if the Magpies match the spirit and resilience shown during 1-1 draw with Norwich in early relegation battle
Eddie Howe insists Newcastle will soon break their 14-match winless start if matching the spirit and resilience shown during Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Norwich.
It was not the result the new manager wanted against relegation rivals and his side remain bottom of the Premier League, where they are now six points from safety.
But after Ciaran Clark was sent off just 10 minutes in, Howe was encouraged by his side’s response amid a raucous atmosphere inside St James’ Park.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe (centre) insists his side will break their 14-match winless start
They led thanks to Callum Wilson’s second-half penalty only for Teemu Pukki to smash an equaliser 11 minutes from time.
Howe said: ‘We had a mountain to climb so early in the game. We could have wallowed and had a victim mentality, but we didn’t. We manned up and responded to the situation. It is a great sign for what lies ahead.
‘The atmosphere is something I would have loved to play in. That reflected in the team’s performance, the fans galvanised the players. They definitely fed off each other.
Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark was given a straight red just 10 minutes into the game
Callum Wilson’ opened the scoring with a penalty in the 61st minute of the relegation battle
‘We were desperate for three points, but I have to cling to what I’ve seen in terms of the spirit and them giving more than what they thought they were physically capable. We’re going to need that in the battle ahead.
‘If we deliver the mentality we showed with 10 men vs 11 on a regular basis, we’ll win games. No doubt about that. We know we need wins, draws aren’t going to be enough.
‘But the players gave their all and I was proud of them. With the quality we have, we will win matches.’
Of Clark’s error – the defender was sent off for tugging back Pukki with the striker in on goal – Howe added: ‘In the cold light of day Ciaran would make a different decision. It was probably an impulse that has made him stop the striker. It probably is a red card.’
Teemu Pukki crashed home a wonderful left-footed volley to rescue a vital draw for the visitors
Norwich boss Dean Smith remains unbeaten in three matches since his arrival, but he said: ‘I’m disappointed. It was the worst performance out of three that we’ve had. We didn’t show enough quality or move the ball quick enough.
‘We’ve managed to go three unbeaten, but we feel we’ve lost two points here, given the circumstances.’
Smith was not happy with the award of Newcastle’s penalty, given after a VAR review when Federico Fernandez’s header struck the arm of Billy Gilmour in the six-yard area.
‘We’ve taken all responsibility away from the on-pitch official,’ said Smith. ‘He didn’t feel it was unnatural. If it takes him 90 seconds to see whether it’s close enough – it’s pathetic for me.’