Newcastle: George Caulkin reveals Eddie Howe’s worries about St James’ Park atmosphere
The Athletic’s George Caulkin has claimed that Eddie Howe was worried about the flat atmosphere prior to Newcastle United’s game last weekend.
The Lowdown: Difficult to maintain a great atmosphere
It was always going to be hard for Newcastle fans to replicate the atmosphere they managed in their last home game in the Carabao Cup semi-final as they booked their first trip to Wembley this century.
However, it should have perhaps been easier to get the crowd off their feet than it was given they scored two goals in the opening three minutes of the game – albeit with one correctly disallowed.
The fact that it’s difficult to maintain such a high that resulted in a final place being booked was certainly not disregarded by Howe, as he seemingly drilled it into his players about getting the fans up for the game.
The Latest: Howe was concerned pre-West Ham game
Caulkin has admitted on Pod on the Tyne that leading up to the West Ham game, Howe was indeed worried about what the mood and atmosphere would be like around St James’ Park after such a huge game midweek.
He said: “There had been proper concern within the club that there would be a flatness, both to the atmosphere and also to the team’s performance, after getting through to the cup final. They were really trying to guard against that.
“Howe had made a point – certainly at the training ground in the week – to sort of emphasise the importance of these matches, and it was notable that the announcer was saying ‘oh, it’s flat, we need to liven up’.”
The Verdict: Newcastle must guard against complacency
While getting to their first final this century is something to be celebrated and get excited about for Newcastle fans, they must remember that they’re still going for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Therefore, they should be looking to pick up maximum points away to the likes of struggling Bournemouth this coming weekend – who are yet to win in the league since the World Cup break – and when struggling Liverpool come to Tyneside the following Saturday.
This is not just to help their push for the Champions League, but if they don’t win any of their next three games, it will likely only dampen their confidence heading into the final, so Howe will need fans and players focused on the present and only turn their attentions to the cup final until later this month.