Howe backs ‘intelligent’ but underused signing to take Newcastle chance

Eddie Howe sending Bruno Guimaraes on for Newcastle United

Eddie Howe has promised Bruno Guimaraes that opportunities will come at Newcastle United, after praising two other January signings whose example he can follow.

Guimaraes was one of five signings for Newcastle in the January transfer window. Of the quintet, four arrived on a permanent basis. The former Lyon midfielder was the most expensive of these arrivals.

However, he is having to be one of the more patient new members of the squad. The £33m man has managed just four minutes of Premier League action so far across three substitute appearances.

His manager has now backed his intelligence to earn him a place in the plans for the rest of the season. Although, he must be aware that Newcastle will be careful with their balance while they have found a better chemistry.

Manager Eddie Howe told a press conference: “Bruno is keen to play and show what he can do to help the team. He’s trained very, very well and, mentally, he is in a good place.

“He understands the team has been performing well. The chemistry in the midfield has been very good.

“He’s an intelligent player and I think he understands his position. We also know what’s on the horizon. We have a lot of games to come.

“The fixture congestion will be packed as the season unfolds. So he will have a lot of opportunities to cement his place in the team.”

Zaidu Sanusi from Porto a target for Newcastle United this summer

Newcastle United are looking at Zaidu Sanusi from Porto this summer

Two signings who have slotted in quicker are centre-half Dan Burn and left-back Matt Targett. Each have started two Premier League games since joining the club.

Howe has been impressed with how they are helping Newcastle shore up in defence.

He said: “Dan has fitted in really well, as has Matt on that left-hand side of our defence.

“Dan has used the ball really well. He’s been composed, talked well and has leadership qualities.

“Both have taken to what we’ve asked them to do excellently. They have defended very well first and foremost. They have really helped our team and I’ve been really pleased with both.”

Eddie Howe expects long relegation battle

Eddie Howe Newcastle

Thanks in part to their January transfer activity, but also their form on the pitch, Newcastle’s chances of Premier League safety appear to be increasing.

They have been in the relegation zone for most of the season. But they are now in 17th place – although they could be overtaken by a Burnley side with a game in hand.

Therefore, Howe does not think they are out of the woods by any stretch, even if Newcastle have boosted their hopes.

He warned: “No team down the bottom will give up. It’s going to go right to the end of the season.

“We have to take care of our own business and that’s consistently winning games or getting points to try and elevate ourselves from danger.

“The [transfer] window enabled us to add some very good people to the group but I do think the players we’ve had have progressed through the weeks and improved. Put that mix together and it’s been a powerful one for us.”

Next up for Newcastle is a game away at Brentford at 3pm on Saturday. It could be another opportunity for them to pick up points.

Howe is yet to know if he will be able to call upon Allan Saint-Maximin, who missed their last game due to a knock.

The manager said: “We’re going to make a late call on him. He’s been away getting intensive treatment.

“We said when he suffered the injury, it wouldn’t be long-term so we’re keeping our fingers crossed on him.”

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Someone else aiming to return from the sidelines in the coming weeks is full-back Javier Manquillo.

Of the Spaniard, Howe confirmed: “Manquillo came through a couple of training sessions this week. I wouldn’t say he’s 100 per cent fit but he’s certainly getting closer to being fit and available.”

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