‘Newcastle fans are not going to like what I'm going to say’ – Eddie Howe's potential problem for next season

West Ham United forward Michail Antonio has suggested Newcastle United and Eddie Howe could be victims of their own success following a stellar second half of the season.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 10:28 am

After winning just one of their opening 20 league games, Howe has since guided Newcastle out of relegation danger and into the top half of the table with four games remaining.

With 32 points accumulated since the turn of the year, only title-chasing Liverpool have a better record than Newcastle in 2022.

The Magpies are effectively safe in the knowledge that they will be playing Premier League football next season with momentum behind them.

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Eddie Howe, manager of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Newcastle United at Carrow Road on April 23, 2022 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

But Antonio – speaking to injured Newcastle striker Callum Wilson on the Footballer’s Football Podcast – feels Newcastle’s impressive record could ‘kill’ Howe in terms of next season’s expectations.

“Newcastle fans are not going to like what I'm going to say,” Antonio warned.

“I'm trying to help your gaffer out. Him doing so well could kill him for next season.

"The fact that he's come in and won so many games – people expect stuff straight away and because he's come in and done so well, people are going to expect things next season.

Michail Antonio of West Ham United and Callum Wilson of Newcastle United speak following the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on September 12, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

"So if he keeps this going and finishes the season strong, winning all these games and then a few signings come in, next season what are these fans going to want? What are these owners going to think? I'm just throwing it out there.”

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With survival the target for Howe this season, achieving a top half finish come May would blow the initial expectations out of the water heading into the 2022-23 campaign.

But Wilson insists the head coach and his teammates will be keeping their feet on the ground regardless of how high Newcastle finish this season.

“I get what you're saying,” Wilson replied. “The manager is not going to want to get us safe and then not win any more games so it doesn't put pressure on himself [next season].

"His work ethic is second to none so ultimately this job that he was taking on when he took over, we were on four, five points when he came took over, he seen the bigger picture further down the line getting us safe.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground, now we're safe we're playing against teams where some of them are on holiday mode already, it's different when you're starting the season with 38 games.

"The pressure is going to be there from the start but it's a building process.

"We've been taken over and we'll try and finish in the top 10 this year and next year will probably be the same in trying to sustain that level and maintain that so we can solidify ourselves as a top 10 team and then build from there.

"We're not getting carried away as players or as a club to say we're going to be challenging in Europe and things like that.”

With four games left to play this season, Newcastle are currently 14 points clear of the relegation zone yet only nine points behind the European places.

Wilson is hoping to be back from his calf injury before the end of the season but he will miss Saturday’s match against Liverpool at St James’s Park (12:30pm kick-off).

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