What Newcastle United’s rivals have said about their season - including Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City managers
What have rival managers said about Newcastle United’s stunning start to the season?
The Magpies currently occupy a Champions League place as they break for the Qatar World Cup. Much like their end to last season, momentum has been building at St James’s Park with Eddie Howe’s side looking to push on when the Premier League resumes on Boxing Day.
Their progress has been nothing short of outstanding and here, we take a look at what rival managers have said about Newcastle United’s progress this season, their style of play and their financial resources:
Brighton’s Graham Potter on Magpies intensity
Newcastle United’s first away game of the season saw them make the long trip to face Brighton and Hove Albion. The Seagulls were managed by Potter at the time, who described Newcastle as a ‘top team’ following the goalless draw.
“Although we should have won, we're incredibly proud.” Potter said. “We were playing against a top team.
"Credit to the goalkeeper [Nick Pope]. We just missed that last little bit. We knew how tough it was going to be against Newcastle, with the way they set up and how good they are on the counter-attack.
“Eddie prides himself on his side’s intensity and that made them a threat on the counter attack but I thought we dealt with a very good side very well.”
Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola on Eddie Howe
After the pulsating 3-3 draw at St James’s Park, Guardiola was full of praise for Newcastle’s efforts on the day, giving particular credit to his opposite number in the dugout. On Howe, Guardiola said: “He’s one of the top managers.
“He took over the team last season in a difficult position, circumstances. He made an incredible effort, so the team you see is growing. They have everything. They have pace, they have quality. It’s a difficult place to come.”
Crystal Palace’s Patrick Vieira on European hopes
Heading into the game with Crystal Palace at the beginning of September, Newcastle had drawn three of their last four games and were winless since their opening day win over Nottingham Forest. Although their form had slumped a little, Vieira still believed Newcastle had the quality to mount a challenge for European football.
When asked if they could challenge for Europe this season, Vieira replied: “Yes, of course. When you look at what they spent, the ambition, it’s going to be challenging for other teams coming here to get something.”
“They’re a really strong side, and I think this is one of the teams you can count on (to challenge for) European football.
“When you look at the quality they have, the investment. They have a quality manager, and I believe that they will be one of the teams that will be close to Europe.”
Bournemouth’s Gary O’Neil on expectations
Alexander Isak’s penalty earned the Magpies a point against a dogged Cherries side in September - the last time they dropped points on home turf. Ahead of the game, Bournemouth’s interim boss O’Neil revealed he expects Newcastle to finish at the top end of the Premier League, describing them as a ‘real good outfit’.
O’Neil said: “They're a very good side, every game I've watched of them they've been front foot, aggressive, caused teams problems, probably should have more points than they have so far. I'd expect them to be very high up the league this year. I'd expect them to be top eight, top 10 by the end of the season.
"They're aggressive, play forward a lot and ask questions so it will be a tough test for sure. They have a real athleticism about them across the team.
“They're very front foot and make it difficult. They've signed good players, they're organised and they're just a real good outfit.”
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on Newcastle United’s ‘ceiling’
Although Liverpool and Newcastle played out a feisty encounter at the end of August in Merseyside, one the Magpies felt went unjustly against them, it was Klopp’s comments on Newcastle’s spending power in October that grabbed most attention. Responding to Dan Ashworth’s claim that Newcastle don’t have a ‘ceiling’ in terms of ambition, Klopp said:
“I heard now that at Newcastle somebody said ‘there is no ceiling for this club’. Yes, he’s absolutely right. There’s no ceiling for Newcastle. Congratulations. But some other clubs have ceilings.”
Everton’s Frank Lampard on Newcastle’s transformation
This time last year, Newcastle and Everton were engaged in a battle to beat the drop and although both teams survived, it didn’t appear that way for much of the campaign. Since then, Newcastle have gone from strength to strength under Howe and Lampard was full of praise for their progress on the field.
Lampard said: “The club now is in a different phase, or level, to what it’s been in for many years. The recruitment they made last January, they made in the summer, has made them stronger.
“You can see there’s a different belief around the stadium and on the pitch. They’ve got quite a defined physical, athletic style, and give you a lot of problems.
“Fair play, they’re working in a really good direction. You have to respect that. They’re in a different phase, and are going to give everyone a tough game when they come here.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s Antonio Conte on Callum Wilson’s opener
Wilson’s controversial opener at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was eventually awarded by VAR despite Spurs protestations. Post-match, Conte refused to be drawn into criticising the decision made by the officials.
Conte said: "Before the situation (with the first goal), we created many chances to score. Maybe if we had better finishing, we could score.
“Then it happened this situation. I don't want to comment on the referee decision. I don't want to comment.”