Eddie Howe is well aware of the “huge job” at Newcastle, but he is determined to shut out the “noise” surrounding the club.
Howe, 43, was installed as head coach on Tyneside on November 8, but will take charge of his first game on Saturday. A home game with Brentford will give Howe a realistic chance of getting off to a flying start. It will also be the club’s first Premier League win this season.
He inherits a club where, as predecessor Steve Bruce often remarked, the pressure is unique. He also has to contend with the threat of relegation and owners who are unlikely to be too patient in the pursuit of success.
Howe, who insisted he would not lose any sleep over what lies ahead, said: “I have to separate myself from the noise because the noise isn’t going to help me in the job and my dealings with the players, so I think that’s going to be one of the most important factors for me.
“I have always prided myself with my work with the players, my interactions with them, the way that I have tried to improve them.
“That can’t change despite the bits of my job now, the demands on my time that are going to be huge. But I have to prioritise, so I think that’s going to be a key thing for me.
“You can sense that it’s a huge job. There’s a real yearning from the supporters to be successful, to produce a team that they enjoy watching – that’s the big challenge ahead for us.”
Such has been Howe’s attention to detail that he has had little time to adjust himself to his new surroundings while he has assessed the strengths and weaknesses of his squad and drawn up a plan designed to end the barren run.
He said with a smile: “I can say with all honesty I have seen the training ground and I have seen my hotel.
‘It’s not enjoyable to be fighting relegation’
“I haven’t seen Newcastle in the light yet – tomorrow will actually be the first day that I step into Newcastle when it’s daylight.”
Newcastle’s plight is worrying – they have collected only five of the first 33 points on offer – and while Howe and his staff have time with which to play, that will run out quickly if they do not start to turn things around.
However, it is a challenge which does not faze him.
He said: “At Bournemouth, every year we were in a relegation battle. For the first four years, we achieved our objective and stayed in the Premier League.
“My first year at Bournemouth was also a relegation battle, so I’ve been in the position many, many times. It’s not nice, it’s not enjoyable to be fighting relegation.
“It’s not where I want to be, but it is the situation we find ourselves in and drawing on past experience is going to be helpful.”