Eddie Howe insists Newcastle are ‘NOT deliberately ruffling feathers but we are playing hard and fair’ as he refuses to apologize for their winning mentality – after Mikel Arteta’s scathing criticism
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Eddie Howe will make no apologies for the way Newcastle try to win games, as the comparison with Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid resurfaced on the eve of a decisive Champions League match here in Dortmund.
While the magnitude of Tuesday night’s Group of Death encounter with Borussia was not lost on Howe and those in attendance at Monday night’s press conference at Signal Iduna Park, it was Saturday’s controversial 1-0 win over Arsenal that continued to dominate the discussion.
Mikel Arteta launched an extraordinary rant about the validity of Anthony Gordon’s winning goal and some of his players refused to shake hands with the hosts.
The Spaniard has previously complained about the dark arts of Howe and his team, and there has been no love lost between the rivals.
Howe refuses to worry about such matters, but there was a cold warning for anyone unhappy with his team’s approach.
Eddie Howe responded coolly to Mikel Arteta’s complaints about Newcastle’s win
Newcastle United lost to Dortmund at St. James’ Park thanks to a first-half goal from Felix Nmecha
Newcastle and Switzerland centre-back Fabian Schar also defended his side’s playing style
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“We’re not deliberately ruffling feathers, we’re just trying to win,” he said. “However we do that, I have no problem with that, as long as we do it within the spirit of the game.
‘We are competitive. We are extremely ambitious and compliment the players on the way they handled Saturday. I want the players to stand up for each other, I want them to play competitive football.
“I want us to be strong at certain times, and we have to be strong, and I think we did all those things on Saturday. I have no problem at all with how we played.
“Look, I think we’re playing hard. We play the game very strongly because we want to win. But I think we’re playing fair and we’ll do the same thing again.”
Fabian Schar joined Howe on Monday and the centre-back, with his dashing appearance, showed an ugly side as talks again turned to accusations about Newcastle’s aggressive streak.
“I enjoy doing whatever it takes to win a match,” he stated. ‘Sometimes that’s what it takes. A game can go in different directions. We know what to do.
‘Sometimes you play nice football and sometimes, like Saturday, you have matches that are very tight and intense, with a lot of fouls. There were also things off the field, but that doesn’t really matter to me.’
The intensity of Newcastle’s play may come at a cost, and Howe will be without 12 senior players on Tuesday evening.
Newcastle will be desperate for a result from this match as they look to qualify for the next round of the Champions League
He has confirmed that defender Dan Burn is the latest victim, who injured his spine against Arsenal. He’s looking out for a few months, and so is left back Matt Targett, a hamstring casualty.
Newcastle know that another defeat to Dortmund – they lost 1-0 at St. James’ Park a fortnight ago – would leave them as outsiders for a place in the last 16. They will have to overcome defeat against Dortmund after Saturday’s 4-0. defeat against Bayern Munich, as well as 81,000 spectators.
“When you come here, we’re sure of a brilliant atmosphere, and I think we’re prepared for that,” Howe said. “But how we can do that throughout the match will depend on our performance, and how well we start will be crucial.”
Tough but fair is what Howe will ask from the start, and he doesn’t care if that upsets the eleven on the field or the stands.