Eddie Howe has Newcastle United fan favourite 'thinking big' following Premier League survival
Newcastle United midfielder Joelinton is targeting a European push next season now the club has confirmed its Premier League status.
The Magpies became the first Premier League side in history to stay up despite failing to win any of their opening 14 matches of the campaign.
Joelinton, who dropped into a midfield role in December, has played a key role in the side’s turnaround under Eddie Howe.
A run of 10 wins from 14 matches between January and April ultimately helped United secure survival with relative ease in the end as they now head into the final two matches against Arsenal and Burnley aiming to secure a top 10 position.
Had the Premier League season had started when Howe took charge of his first game at Newcastle on November 20, the club would be sitting seventh in the table.
And Joelinton has pointed to the United’s run of form under Howe as a reason to suggest they should be challenging for the European places next season.
“It's good to [survive] but hopefully next season we don't fight against relegation again,” said the Brazilian.
“What you have to think is to fight for Europa [next season]. We've shown this season how good we are and where you can be, we just have to work hard and try our best every day and we have to think big and fight for Europa.
“Since Eddie came in and the new owners, the team has improved a lot through dedication and hard work. New players have come and helped us which is very good and next season we have to have this mentality and fight every game.”
This season has seen Joelinton transform into a fan favourite on Tyneside as he now has his own ‘Christ the Redeemer’ tribute flag flown as part of the Wor Flags displays ahead of every home match at St James’s Park.
“The fans deserve a lot of credit,” he told nufc.co.uk. “Before the [new] owners they always helped us as well but since the new owners come in they are in the stadium and every game is a show there and the support they give us is so important to give us more energy and motivation. It means a lot for every player.
“Eddie has helped me a lot since he arrived, he gave me a lot of confidence and a chance to play and show my quality.
"He's so important for me and not just for me but other players as well, he understands us and he's a great coach who deserves a lot of credit.
"This season has been a long season, I’m tired! It's good to look back to see how far me and the team have come from those difficult moments. It shows the resilience, how we've kept going.”
Joelinton and his Newcastle teammates will have a St James's Park send off on Monday evening for their final home match of the season against Arsenal (8pm kick-off).
"I can't wait to come back to St James's for our last home game of the season,” Joelinton continued. “Hopefully we can have a good game and give [the fans] the three points they deserve.