Eddie Howe's turned a Newcastle United negative into a positive – here's how

It wasn’t looking good for Newcastle United’s pre-season a couple of months ago.

The club had seen a proposed tournament in the USA cancelled – and it was left with a big gap in its calendar.

Newcastle officials were left scrambling to arrange a pre-season tour when most training complexes were booked – and teams had already finalised their games.

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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
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Howe – who has taken his team to Portugal this week for fixtures against Burnley and Benfica – said there were “no negatives” to the the squad’s stay in Saalfelden.

“There are different positives to both (the USA and Austria),” said head coach Howe. “The travelling distance (to the USA) is high, and there are benefits to that, as there are many places you can go, but there are also negatives.

"This trip has had no negatives. The facilities have been first class. The hotel is excellent, the food has been unbelievable. The pitches have been OK, probably the only thing. They suffer from torrential rain here, although you wouldn't know it now.

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"Lots to do – and that's been the good thing for the players, they have lots of sporting activities, biking, go-karting, lots of things you can do in the mountains.I have to say, I'd certainly come here again, as I couldn't recommend it high enough.”

Howe and his Newcastle players got through a “lot of work” in Austria, where the squad did double sessions.

United’s head coach will “taper down” training in Portugal ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Burnley.

“It's been good,” said Howe. “We've covered a lot of work. A lot of key points that we feel we need to improve. That's a forever thing you are working on – all phases of the game, in possession, out of possession and set plays.

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"Players are working to a point of fatigue, so in the matches, probably not looking as sharp as we maybe want to, but that's because of the workload behind them.”

Newcastle take on Burnley in a behind-closed-doors game in Lisbon on Saturday before facing Benfica at the Estadio da Luz on July 26.