Newcastle forward Allan Saint-Maximin has heaped praise on new manager Eddie Howe following the entertaining 3-3 draw with Brentford.
The Premier League clash at St James’ Park was Howe’s first game in charge, although he had to watch from a hotel room after testing positive for Covid-19. It showed the ability of some of his most important players, such as Saint-Maximin and Joelinton, while also revealing the major defensive problems that need sorting.
The Magpies were ahead with ten minutes gone as skipper Jamaal Lascelles headed in from a Matt Ritchie corner. But former Newcastle man Ivan Toney brought Brentford level soon afterwards.
Rico Henry put the away team in front in the 31st minute, only for Newcastle’s record signing, Joelinton, to equalise before the interval.
Brentford took the lead in the second half as Frank Onyeka’s shot deflected off Lascelles and past goalkeeper Karl Darlow. But Newcastle snatched a point as talisman Saint-Maximin smashed home a first-time volley.
During a post-match interview with NUTV, Saint-Maximin was quizzed about Howe’s absence and his impact on the team. He alluded to their additional attacking threat, in contrast to their time under former boss Steve Bruce.
“[The isolation] was bad because we need him. He’s a good coach for me – I don’t need one year with him to see if he is a good coach or not – he’s a great coach. They have a nice philosophy, a nice idea and you can see that from the first game.
“We played more in attack, we had more chances to score and it was more difficult to defend against us, so we just have to keep going like this and to concede fewer goals and I’m sure we’re going to win more games.”
Howe integral to Newcastle equaliser
Howe may have been unable to attend but that did not stop the Englishman from having an impact.
He worked with assistant manager Jason Tindall to organise the late substitutions. Ryan Fraser replacing summer capture Joe Willock was one of them.
Fraser, who played under Howe at Bournemouth, crossed for Saint-Maximin as the Frenchman bagged Newcastle’s third goal.
“At 3-2 down we had a decision to make. In dialogue with Ed, those subs we made were jointly done,” Tindall told BBC Sport.
“But Ed has to take a lot of credit for that, he’s the manager and he makes the final call. Bringing on Ryan Fraser certainly made the difference for us and he played his part in the third goal for Maxi.”