Eddie Howe reveals meeting with Newcastle United's World Cup players
Howe's side beat Bournemouth 1-0 at St James’s Park tonight to book a place in the competition’s quarter-finals.
United's head coach had started all five of the club’s World Cup players – Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, Bruno Guimaraes and Fabian Schar – after asking them about their readiness to play following their return from Qatar.
"I spoke to all the international lads, basically had a discussion (along the lines of) ‘do you want to play, do you feel able to play?’,” said Howe. “All of them were desperate to come back and be part of this game, which was a great thing for me, a real sign of their mentality and professionalism.
"My team then reflected that – and the fact we wanted to progress. We knew today, against a Premier League team, we had to be very good.”
The Bournemouth game was decided by a second-half own goal from Adam Smith.
“I don’t think we were at our fluent best, but I don’t think we ever were going to be just because of the build up to the game,” said Howe.
“I thought Bournemouth made it very difficult for us, very good defensively, as they were here in the league game.
"So we had to be patient, and we had to work and keep doing the right things. I thought we did without being at our very best, but I think the game would have done us the world of good for what’s ahead.”