Manager Eddie Howe is confident Newcastle United can avoid relegation and revealed what beating Burnley will have done for the side.
The Magpies went into Saturday’s clash with the Clarets sitting bottom of the Premier League standings. But they did what they failed to do in 14 previous games and came away with all three points. Callum Wilson scored the all-important goal on 40 minutes.
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope fumbled Joe Willock’s cross and former Bournemouth ace Wilson was on hand to slot the ball home. It means that the Tynesiders are now off the foot of the table, with Norwich below them having played a game less.
The bottom three all have 10 points to their name and Howe could not disguise what the win meant.
“Absolutely delighted for everyone connected with the club. It was a massive game for us and I thought the lads responded,” he told BBC Sport.
“After the first 20 mins we were great today. Very nervy towards the end as we were desperate for the win. The players managed that part really well.”
And the 44-year-old pinpointed exactly what finally getting a win will do for his charges.
“The spirit in the group has shown and the atmosphere was exceptional. I can’t praise the supporters enough,” he added. “We have tried to bring our philosophy to the team. To be front foot and be more aggressive. We have technical players and athletes.
“Confidence is a key in any sport and we have lacked that. But today goes a long way to rebuilding that.”
Howe ready to face the giants
Newcastle have closed the gap on safety but things are about to get a lot tougher. Next up is a trip to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City next Sunday.
Then Howe will take his men to Anfield on December 16 to play Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Three days later the champions arrive at St James’ Park as Manchester City are the opponents.
And Manchester United complete the quartet of tough-looking fixtures on December 27. Howe acknowledges it will be tough but knows they must take points from the big clubs.
“The fixture list doesn’t look kind,” he continued. “But we can only tick them off one at a time. Historically we have said you need to take points off the top teams and that will be the task in December.”
The north-east outfit have been linked with many players in the January transfer window. It remains to be seen who arrives but Howe is happy to work with what he has.
And the ex-Burnley boss is adamant they can beat the drop.
“January will be important but the players we have here we like and we need to maximise them first,” he said. “The market changes so much and quickly. People above me are planning for that. But my sole focus is coaching the team. I love working with this group.
“They are hungry and want to achieve. For sure we can stay up. We have come in form a difficult position and there is a long road ahead but I believe in what we are doing.”