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For the first time this season, Newcastle United were two goals to the good and about to see out a crucial three points against Everton – but head coach Eddie Howe didn’t allow himself to enjoy it.

St James’s Park was bouncing after a Mason Holgate own goal and first league goals for Ryan Fraser and Kieran Trippier had The Magpies 3-1 ahead with 10 minutes to go.

Barring a dramatic late collapse, Howe’s side were on course to pick up only their third win of the season. It was the first time in 10 matches that United had scored more than one goal and the first time all season that they had a two goal cushion.

When asked if he allowed himself to enjoy the latter stages of the game and take in the atmosphere, Howe told The Gazette: “No, I didn’t. It was great to be two goals ahead, I’m not going to lie.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St. James Park on February 08, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“We had that little cushion but I think you’re just so focused in the game, I feel like I can’t let my mind escape for a moment because it’s a very dangerous thing to do.

“My focus was making sure the team was compact, solid and managed the last part of the game.

“Kieran’s free-kick was right out of the top draw. I’m so pleased for him and Ryan Fraser that they scored tonight. Big moments for both players.”

Once the full-time whistle blew, Howe celebrated and applauded the home support as Newcastle moved out of the relegation zone.

They now eye a third straight league win when they host Aston Villa on Sunday (2pm kick-off).

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