Newcastle United fans should get carried away with hopes of a title challenge… it doesn’t happen often
Newcastle United are genuine title contenders. With 16 games played and just one to go this calendar year, the Magpies must be considered as challengers for the Premier League trophy.
Their win over Leicester City was the type of result that every title-challenger has in a season, one that really makes people stand up and take note. Leicester themselves had one in their unlikely triumph in 2015/16 when they defeated Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the February of their title win.
Of course, there is still lots of football to be played but, after six wins in a row, three of which have been by comfortable margins and two against Spurs and Chelsea, confidence has to be growing on Tyneside. This run of wins culminated in a dominant performance against the Foxes, but Howe isn’t getting too carried away.
“Look, I’ve got no problem with the supporters dreaming and talking and speculating about what we can achieve, and I’ve got no doubt you guys (the media) will, because I can’t control that,” said Howe.
"I just think the only thing we need to be mindful of internally is we just have to focus on what we can control, which is our own thoughts and actions, and how we train and prepare, and just not look too far ahead or listen to too much news media, and just focus on our training.
"This is the toughest league in the world for a reason, and our opposition will no doubt be watching us and preparing for us.”
There is no surprise about Howe’s mentality, however, with every rendition of the chant in the away end at Leicester, hope turned to belief that something really special could be on the horizon. It is up to the fans to get carried away in moments like this, because they have been very few and far between in the last few decades or so - and who can blame the 3,300 supporters in attendance on Boxing Day for doing exactly that?
For 30 minutes of the game, Newcastle were simply sensational and blew away their opponents. From the moment Joelinton was tripped by Daniel Amartey for the penalty that was coolly dispatched by Chris Wood, Newcastle were relentless and clinical, refusing to give the Foxes a sniff at clawing their way back into the game.
And yet, you still feel there is more to come from this team. Callum Wilson missed the game and Allan Saint-Maximin still isn’t fully fit - such is the depth of options available to Howe and his staff.
The eternal defeatist view of being a Newcastle fan means that, after six wins in a row, defeat should feel like it’s just around the corner. But this team and the mentality fostered by Howe since his arrival means that just doesn’t feel likely.
And even if this is the kiss of death and they are defeated by Leeds United on New Year’s Eve, there is no doubt that the group will bounce back from that potential disappointment even stronger. Even if it’s maybe a tad premature, fans have every right to dream of a title challenge.