Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan has responded to claims that Eddie Howe is already under pressure and in danger of the sack by offering their unwavering support to the Magpies manager.
Howe is a hero on Tyneside after helping to oversee the club’s rise from the bottom reaches of the Premier League back into the Champions League. That top-four finish last season, which also saw the club reach the final of the Carabao Cup, means they are back at UEFA’s top table for the first time since the 2003/04 season under legendary boss Sir Bobby Robson.
However, Newcastle’s formidable record last season has been quickly forgotten in the light of a difficult start to this campaign, with the Magpies losing three of their first four games.
After beating Aston Villa 5-1 in their opener, Newcastle have since been beaten 1-0 at Manchester City, 2-1 at home to Liverpool and 3-1 last time out at Brighton.
And their season does not get any easier with Newcastle drawn in the toughest of all Champions League groups on their return to the competition. They face AC Milan in the San Siro on Tuesday evening, with matches against PSG and Borussia Dortmund still to come.
As a result, speculation has mounted in recent days that Howe could soon find himself under pressure. And failure to beat Brentford this coming Saturday evening, in what looks another tough encounter, will pile the pressure on Howe’s doorstep even further.
However, Newcastle chairman Al-Rumayyan insists he is fully behind Howe and has no intentions of axing the 45-year-old.
Per the Daily Telegraph, the Saudi businessman is adamant that Howe still has the ‘unequivocal backing’ of the Newcastle board of directors.
Eddie Howe under no threat of Newcastle sack
Per the report, Al-Rumayyan’s only response to claims that Howe is under pressure is to find out if there is anything further the Newcastle boss needs in support of the team’s current struggles.
And on the basis of results, Al-Rumayyan is adamant that Newcastle’s apparent downturn in results is purely down to the extremely difficult opponents they have faced in the first weeks of the season.
Of course, no results can ever be considered as ‘gimmes’ but, having faced an extremely-challenging start to the season by way of quality of opposition, there was always a feeling that Newcastle may get off to a slow start this season.
However, Al-Rumayyan believes performances have still been good and, while they were well beaten at Brighton, results at home to Liverpool and away at European champions Manchester City prove the Magpies remain a force to be reckoned with.
And per the Telegraph, there remains a ‘real sense of calm’ behind the scenes at Newcastle as they gear up for an extremely exciting month.
Furthermore, rather than apportion blame on Howe, Al-Rumayyan and his fellow directors are keen to shield Howe from what has been deemed unwanted and unnecessary pressure.
Mitigating circumstances for Newcastle results drop-off
And while they have already lost three Premier League matches – versus the five defeats they suffered across the whole of last season – the Newcastle board insist there is absolutely no need to panic.
Crucially, those behind the scenes were also well aware that a drop-off could occur this season. And it has been highlighted to Al-Rumayyan that teams who unexpectedly qualify for the Champions League – as Newcastle did last season – suffer an average drop-off of eight places the season after.
That could see Newcastle finish as low as 12th in the Premier League this season. And although the club do expect to do far better, it is not a scenario they are concerned about either with their route into the UCL this season as having got Newcastle performing well over expectations.
In addition, they are fully behind the management of Howe and are willing to offer him their support for the long term. Summer signings Tino Livramento, 20, the 19-year-old Lewis Hall and Sandro Tonali, 23, have all been done with the club’s long-term prospects in mind. To that end, they fully see Howe as being a big consistent in all they are trying to achieve and grow as a club in the years ahead.