Newcastle United Austria tour diary – Eddie Howe’s first words to media, and the squad's new mode of transport

The last time Eddie Howe spoke to the media was in Turf Moor’s cramped press room.

Newcastle United had just ended the season with a 2-1 win over Burnley – and the club had ended the campaign in 11th place. The turnaround was remarkable, and Howe – who had inherited a winless team which was in the relegation zone – had a lot to reflect on after the game.

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That was almost two months ago – and a lot has happened since then.

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The club has signed three players – Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Matt Targett – and Dan Ashworth and Darren Eales have joined as sporting director and chief executive officer respectively.

Newcastle have also set about improving the training ground and sprucing up St James’s Park.

Howe again faced journalists after Friday’s 3-0 win over 1860 Munich in Austria. Against a stunning alpine backdrop, Howe walked over to the group of reporters who had travelled to Saalfelden for the game.

His first words?

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.

“I’ve missed you,” said Howe, though United’s grinning head coach wasn’t being entirely serious.

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Howe, aware of the importance of communication, has spoken very well since succeeded Steve Bruce at the club, but it’s clear he prefers speaking to his staff and players.

Still, there was a lot to speak about – and Howe, to his credit, tackled every question.

On the bikes

Newcastle’s players have had a tough week.

They’ve been doing double sessions, and they had a tough run-out against 1860.

The squad, however, has also had some downtime in Saalfelden, and the best way to get around the area is by bike. United’s players have been out and about between sessions.

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Howe felt that his team was tired in the first half against 1860, and it was only when he introduced his internationals with 60 minutes gone that his team took control of the friendly.

Joe Willock opened the scoring before being taken off, and Sean Longstaff and Bruno Guimaraes found the net after coming on.

You’d think that the club’s exhausted players would be grateful for a ride back in the bus, but a few of them, among them Longstaff and Guimaraes, cycled back to the team hotel.