The club beat Burnley 2-1 yesterday to finish 11th in the Premier League with 49 points – despite failing to win any of its first 14 games. It was United’s best points haul since the 2013/14 campaign when Alan Pardew was in charge.
Newcastle were 20th after Howe’s first game in charge, a 3-3 home draw against Brentford in November, and the club’s head coach – who succeeded Steve Bruce in the post – thanked supporters for their patience after the Burnley game, which was decided in their favour by two goals from fit-again striker Callum Wilson.
Newcastle were backed by another sold-out away end at Turf Moor, and Howe said: “The support, home and away, has been absolutely incredible, and we’ve really, really needed them.
"In the dark days of December and January, we needed a group of supporters to stick with us, bear with us, and understand the situation we were in, and that’s where I give Newcastle supporters so much credit, because they did stick with us.
"They gave us time, and allowed us to build our confidence.
"Now you’re seeing a team which knows how to win. It’s got that rhythm and understanding of seeing games out.
"It was incredibly tough at the end. Big thank you to them, and hopefully we’ve made them happy.”
The result relegated Burnley, and Mike Jackson, the club’s caretaker manager, said: “I’m gutted for the group, the fans, the staff. They’ve given it everything and that’s all you can ask of anybody.”