Eddie Howe calls Newcastle United team meeting over Allan Saint-Maximin interview
Allan Saint-Maximin will speak to his Newcastle United team-mates today to minimise any “fallout” from his latest interview.
Saint-Maximin – who has set up four goals this season – appeared to suggest in an interview with French publication So Foot that he would have more assists in a team with better strikers.
"Those who have played with me know very well that in terms of pure quality,” said Saint-Maximin. “I have nothing to envy to (Liverpool’s) Sadio Mane, or to all those great players who play in top clubs.
"The day I have a player capable of finishing actions, I will make seasons with 10-15 assists, and I will change dimensions in people's heads.”
A "concerned” Saint-Maximin spoke to Howe yesterday, and he will speak to his team-mates today to explain what he had meant to say.
"I saw the quotes, spoke with Allan,” said Howe, United's head coach. “I think I need to make this clear that Allan’s quotes didn’t come across in the way he meant them to.
"He was concerned yesterday. We spoke, and in no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity that we’ve built. Of course, he said things in an interview, but, as I said, it wasn’t in the context that he meant, although it happened.
"We’ll be speaking with the squad, and making sure there’s no fallout from that, because unity has been our strength It’s vitally important that we keep that.”
Howe will not fine Saint-Maximin over the interview.
“Ideally, I wouldn’t want any of my players speaking about anything other than themselves and their own careers,” said Howe. “I don’t think players need to to talk about their players or players from other clubs. It’s all about other clubs.
“It’s about protecting the team, and everything we do it giving off united and positive messages. even in difficult moments and that can be tough.
“But that’s my ideal, and what I want my team to do.
“I have no concerns over his mood. I don’t think I will be fining him about that situation. It’s more a case of education and making sure players know what we expect of them.”