Newcastle United star Joelinton has reportedly revealed that Eddie Howe is targeting European qualification for the club next season.
Joelinton has undergone a huge transformation under Howe’s reign, claiming the Player of the Season award at the club last week. The club itself has also turned its fortunes around, with five wins from their last seven games.
However, a dressing room insider has now suggested Howe is hoping to continue improving, with European football in his sights.
That’s according to The Mirror, who report that Howe wanted to keep this plan a secret so it didn’t burden the squad.
The English coach took over from Steve Bruce in November. At the time, Newcastle were tied at the bottom of the table with Norwich City on five points.
Heading into the final game of the season, the Magpies now sit 12th, and have been safe from the drop for some time.
The signing of Brazilian playmaker Bruno Guimaraes has played a huge role in this turnaround. In 16 league games, the £40m man has contributed five goals and a further assist.
Newcastle will hope to further improve the squad in summer too. The report adds that Howe will be rewarded with a £60m transfer budget, plus proceeds from player sales.
Nevertheless, Howe has not gone public with any plans for European qualification next campaign. Instead, the 44-year-old has suggested he will priorities cup success instead.
He said: “I’d love to do well in the cup competitions. We will take them seriously next year and we will love to do well with them. Improvement is key, and I know that’s not a line you necessarily want to hear, you want to hear a headline answer, but I can’t give you that.
“We took over a team that was in a really difficult position, January was important and we’ve improved the squad, we need to improve the squad again, we can’t stand still. But we’re competing in a league that is so difficult, we have no divine right to finish above anybody. We have to earn that.”
Eddie Howe admits to holding plans back
Howe went onto admit that he doesn’t want plans being revealed, so to not put additional pressure on his group of players.
Newcastle fans could be forgiven for getting their hopes up following the takeover this season. The new Saudi-based owners are the richest within the Premier League.
But Howe claims that any changes will be steady, saying all targets will be kept away from the media.
He said: “Joe is a good guy and he is positive and optimistic. And I think we should be. I have no issue with that and I want my squad to be confident and ambitious.
“They have to believe in big things and we have to set targets internally. I would rather these things stay internal than external because we have to also manage expectations. We don’t want to play under an unnecessary burden or unnecessary pressure that hampers our performance. I would prefer to keep things in-house.”
Newcastle one of the form teams
Since the turn of the year, Newcastle have been in fact one of the Premier League’s in-form teams.
It is testament to Howe for how he has picked up a dressing room that was low in morale when he arrived.
What’s more, it is testament to Howe that he can now aim much higher than just looking to survive relegation.
With added investment this summer, Newcastle will hope to go as far as they can as they continue on their exciting journey.