Newcastle United Austria tour diary – Eddie Howe's training ground reveal, grounds for optimism

Eddie Howe’s known as a manager who demands intensity from his players on the training pitch.
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Howe wants his players to train as they would play, and the journalists reporting on Newcastle United’s tour in Austria got a glimpse of Howe’s methods yesterday during a training session in Saalfelden.

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The club’s players biked from the team hotel to a pitch close to the 1,500-capacity Saalfelden Arena, where they had beaten 1860 Munich 3-0 thanks to goals from Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and Bruno Guimaraes on Friday.

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After a warm-up, the squad, split into two teams, started a possession drill in one congested corner of the pitch under the watchful eyes of Howe and his staff.

However, Howe was unhappy with the application of one side – and let his players know about it.

After a quick break, the drill restarted – and Howe got the intensity he wanted from all of his players, who were pressing those in possession and flying into challenges. Some of the tackles were surprisingly strong for a training session, but that’s what Howe demands day in day out.

Howe doesn’t believe his players can play with the intensity he demands on a matchday if they don’t train that way during the week.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
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United co-owner Amanda Staveley candidly admitted last season that the team that Howe inherited “wasn’t fit” when she praised his “extraordinary” impact of the club’s head coach.

It’s clear that United, under Howe, will be one of the fittest teams in the Premier League this coming season – and that should pay dividends on the pitch.

Grounds for optimism

It won’t surprise fans to learn that the club took its own chefs to Austria to prepare the team's meals. That’s normal.

But it may surprise some supporters to learn that the club sent ground staff to Austria a week before the team arrived in Saalfelden. They worked diligently with local staff to prepare the training and playing surfaces for the club’s stay in the country.

Fans will be familiar with the expression “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”, and the club has stepped up its preparations for the new season.