Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles' revealing insight into Eddie Howe's extraordinary 'love and passion' for the job
There’s no secret to Newcastle United’s recent success, according to Eddie Howe.
The relegation-threatened club, winless when Howe arrived in November, is on the up after three successive Premier League wins.
Yes, the investment from the club’s new owners has helped – five players arrived last month at a cost of more than £80million – but money alone won’t get the club out of trouble.
And United’s upturn in fortunes is as much about the work ethic as the players Howe has brought to the club in his short time as head coach.
Newcastle United suffering mini-defensive ‘injury crisis’ ahead of clash against Manchester City
Ex-referee delivers Newcastle United verdict on Callum Wilson's disallowed goal v Brighton
Christian Pulisic transfer preference 'revealed' as Newcastle and Man United eye Chelsea star
Newcastle United fan favourite reveals why he left the club with brutal Mike Ashley namecheck
Newcastle United ‘offered’ chance to sign PSG star as Manchester United ‘join race’ for Chelsea winger
“He puts absolutely everything into us doing well on a matchday,” said Newcastle’s captain. “You can see how much effort and passion and love he puts into the job.”
This is more a full-time job, and Howe has set the tone at the club with his work ethic.
The club’s players and staff are working hard – and the team’s getting results.
Speaking after the Villa win, Howe said: “We've worked incredibly hard. In the last three games, I don't think there's been any secret to how we've won the games.
"I don't think they've been fluent footballing performances where we've played from back to front, and all the things that we potentially want to do in the future, but it's been very disciplined, hard-working, a lot of energy, a lot of teamwork, team spirit, togetherness that have made the difference for us.
"So big compliments for everyone for that, because that's sometimes the hardest thing to deliver consistently."
There isn’t a secret, but much of the work that has gone into these results has gone unseen.
Howe has been able to successfully transition the team to a back four, something Steve Bruce wasn’t able to do in his time as manager. The team has played with discipline and diligence, and the players know their jobs.
Bruce, of course, angered fans when he took a short break in Portugal during an international break a month into the new season.
Howe’s predecessor didn’t think that there was much that could be done while six of his players were away on international duty, and he angrily responded to a question about his time away from the training ground following a 4-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Bruce said: "Do you think I really have to answer that to you? That's what the fans are asking, are they? We have trained all week, and we were in every day. The preparation was meticulous, let me tell you.
"There is nothing more in preparation (that could have been done). What was I supposed to do? We had six of them away. The preparation was fine, absolutely fine, and we’ve been in all week. You could see the game plan was, what we worked to.”
Certainly, there’s been nothing wrong with Howe’s preparation in recent weeks.
The team now has a way of playing. There was no identity under Bruce, but we now have one under Howe, a manager who wants to play front to back.
United, finally, are making their own luck – and long may that continue.