What Eddie Howe 'visualises' at Newcastle United as he charts Carabao Cup success

The cups were never a priority for Newcastle United during Mike Ashley’s time as owner.

The club had a dismal record in both domestic cup competitions, though it reached a Europa League quarter-final under Alan Pardew.

Steve Bruce, Eddie Howe’s managerial predecessor, tried to attack the cups, but the furthest he was able to take the club was the last eight of the Carabao Cup a couple of seasons ago.

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Howe – who recently spoke to his players about the club’s history – hopes to take the team even further in a cup competition, and he’s been working towards getting the right dressing room “mentality” ahead of tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup tie against Tranmere Rovers.

United’s head coach challenged his squad to make their own history at a club which last won a major trophy in 1969.

“That’s part of the reason for doing it, to get the players to see where their own history is being made,” said Howe, who will “freshen up” his starting XI at Prenton Park.

"Yeah, if we can be the first team in a long time to win a domestic trophy – or to achieve something memorable – they get their own place in Newcastle’s history. That’s certainly somewhere we want to be.”

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
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The priority under Ashley was Premier League survival. The club’s squad wasn’t equipped to fight on more than one front, but the club’s ambitious new owners have invested heavily in the playing staff since last October’s takeover.

As for Howe, he hasn’t sensed any hangover from the Ashley era in terms of the attitude of towards the cups.

“I’ve never encountered that, so the most important thing is what’s in my head, preparing the team,” said Howe. “I speak to the players on a daily basis, and I’m training them every day, so most important is what I think and that filters to the players."

Howe has the backing of United’s ownership group, who are focused on delivering on-pit.

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“The ownership view would be that they want to try and deliver that (cup success),” said Howe, who presided over an FA Cup defeat to Cambridge United in January. “Whether we’re quite there yet, I don’t know. Time will tell.

"Certainly, from my expectations of what I want from the players, I want to set the bar very, very high. I want to push to try and achieve great things. There’s no one internally putting a ceiling on what we can do.

"There’s that unknown that’s ahead of us, and we want to try and fill it with success.”

Big-name managers have tried and failed to end the club’s trophy drought.

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The challenge for Howe is to succeed where they failed, and the 44-year-old has “visualised” what it would be like to win silverware with United.

"Visualisation and having those high expectations, naturally, you do have to do that,” said Howe. “You have to see it in your own head – and believe it's possible.

"I'm not afraid to say that visualisation, and imagining, those things are very important. I wouldn't say I do it regularly. It's not necessarily a daily occurrence, but it's when you envisage the future, you just try and see what you can achieve – and certainly it's one of my dreams."