Eddie Howe's relentless training ground drill and four word message that has worked wonders at Newcastle United
In less than six months, Eddie Howe has helped transform Newcastle United’s squad into a fit, well-organised and competitive Premier League outfit.
It hasn’t been easy – the vast majority of Howe’s time as head coach so far has been spent working tirelessly at the training ground with 12 hour shifts becoming the norm.
But the hard work has certainly paid off on the pitch with Newcastle rising from the bottom of the Premier League table up into the top half.
The turnaround has been unprecedented, no side had ever survived in the Premier League after failing to win any of their opening 14 matches. Yet after doing just that, Newcastle have managed to stay up with relative ease.
January signings also played their part with The Magpies spending around £90million in the January transfer window, more than any other club in world football.
Matt Targett was one such signing as the left-back joined on loan from Aston Villa until the end of the season.
And the 26-year-old had to quickly grow accustomed to Howe’s meticulous and at times repetitive approach to training.
“On the training ground, we do this shape work every day,” Targett told 5 Live Sport. “It doesn't surprise me that Jason [Tindall, assistant manager] mentioned the out of ball stuff.
"Since I've been here, we've been doing it every week. It makes us better, it makes us have an understanding about what the manager wants.
"We've got better and there has only been one game since I came to the club which was the second half performance against Tottenham where they just tore us apart but we've been in pretty much every other game and given it our all.”
At the moment, the Newcastle squad are reaping the rewards for their hard work. The side have won 10 of their last 15 Premier League matches and only Liverpool and Manchester City have picked up more points than The Magpies in 2022.
Several Newcastle players have credited Howe for the way he has transformed the club’s approach to training and matches since his arrival.
Even though Targett only knows Newcastle with Howe as head coach, he has been made well aware of Howe’s impact
“Physically, the lads who were there before have said that training has got so much harder and the sessions have got so much longer,” he added.
"On a hard day, it's a two hour session which is something that they had to get used to and I had to get used to when I came. The fitter you are, you're only going to get your rewards on a matchday which is what we've been doing.”
Results on the pitch have helped justify the intense approach to training and reinforce Howe’s message.
“The more the players buy into it, the better the outcome and you get your rewards from that,” Targett continued.
"The manager is very keen on intensity and he reminds us of that every day. Before every meeting, he has a key point which is 'our identity is intensity' he installs that in us and it makes us improve.”