The Newcastle United dressing room 'challenge' facing Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe’s team is united in more than just name.

And Howe, Newcastle United’s head coach must must maintain that unity behind the scenes while also “freshening things up”.

That, according to Howe, is one of the biggest “challenges” he faces going forward.

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Howe took Bournemouth from the fourth tier of English football to the Premier League thanks to a united team, and he was asked ahead of last weekend’s game against his former club, which ended 1-1, whether the spirit and unity at Newcastle was comparable.

"Yeah, I do,” said Howe, who succeeded Steve Bruce at United last November. “My biggest challenge when I came to the club was getting the dressing room in a position where everyone is going in the same direction.

"You can’t have anyone going against the team. Everyone’s supporting each other, whether they’re in the team or not, everyone’s fighting for each other, everyone’s giving more.

"And I think we’ve built a culture where the dressing room is doing those things. That never stays constant, and so the challenge you have as a manager is, through time and lots of difficult challenges, to try and keep that fabric together. That’s the most difficult part."

The club, which was taken over last October, has spent heavily on new players in the last two transfer windows.

Howe was known at Bournemouth for doing extensive due diligence on his signings to ensure they fitted into his tight-knit dressing room.

And the 44-year-old – who signed a new “long-term” contract at St James’s Park last month following strong finish last season – has taken a similar approach at Newcastle so he can maintain the dressing room unity.

"That’s the challenge,” said Howe. “It’s not impossible, you can do it. Your recruitment has to be very good, you have to get the right people into the club.

"You have to stay away from possible things that can challenge that, but, ultimately, you need to freshen things up. It's a very delicate balance."

Newcastle, 10th in the Premier League with eight points from seven games, take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on October 1.