The manager of Newcastle United, Eddie Howe is not too excited that the 2021-2022 Premier League season is still running amid the increasing cases of covid-19 in the league.
Though the coach said it would not be easy for him to wish that the league should be halted, he noted that the increasing cases of the virus have created a difficult playing field in the league.
Recall that in the past three weeks, the number of Premier League players and staff that tested positive for the virus have increased so much that games had to be postponed due to the outbreak.
This weekend alone, six Premier League fixtures had to be postponed within short notice because of the virus. It was so bad on Saturday that only the game between Arsenal and Leeds United took place.
As for Newcastle United, they are not directly invaded by the virus but coach Eddie Howe tested positive for it last month and he is hoping that his team would not join the long list of Premier League clubs that are currently battling with the virus.
In an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the Premier League game between Newcastle United and Manchester United scheduled to kick off at 15:00 later today, December 19, Eddie Howe said the outbreak of the pandemic could question the integrity of the Premier League.
He however noted that the health and safety of the individuals involved in the league should be prioritized, adding that it was not fair that some teams play with covid cases in their squad.
“I think health and safety is the first [concern],” he said. “Everyone’s individual lives matter, we have to put that at the forefront of everything. After that, I think the integrity of the competition is key because you don’t want to see disparity in games.
“You don’t want to see some people playing with Covid cases [in their squad] and some teams not, that’s an uneasy feeling for me.
“At the moment we’re Covid-free and we want to play, but we don’t want to play in an environment where the other team might have Covid cases and not be aware of it. It creates a dangerous playing field for all teams.
“I know it’s not ideal. The situation in the country is far from ideal, and we’re still finding out about the variant, so I’m not saying there’s an ideal answer, but I do think the integrity of the competition needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”
Eddie Howe gives update on Newcastle United transfer plans
Newcastle United are currently owned by one of the richest groups in football, the Saudi Arabia consortium worth over €300 billion. Despite that, they are still in the relegation zone.
Hence, in the forthcoming January transfer window, the Premier League side are expected to buy a couple of players to strengthen the struggling team.
So far this season, Newcastle United have recorded 9 defeats, 7 draws, and just a win in 17 Premier League games. The poor performance has placed the club on the 19th spot with just 10 points, equal points with bottom-placed Norwich City.
Ahead of the January transfer window, coach Eddie Howe noted that a stronger squad after the transfer window might not guarantee much.
“A good window for us looks like a stronger squad than when we started the transfer window, but that doesn’t give any guarantees”, he said.
“We’re doing the work behind the scenes. I still think the squad we have is the biggest strength we have in the fight against relegation, but if we can find a couple of solutions and make the team stronger we’ll certainly look to do that.
“There are a few challenges we face. Availability – will they come with our current league position, which is a concern, and January is notoriously very difficult. They are the challenges we’ll work under but we’ll do our best to find a solution.”
Eddie Howe and his boys need to do the unthinkable later today by beating first-placed Manchester City to start their push away from the relegation zone. A win could take Newcastle closer to the 17th placed Watford that have 13 points in 17 games.
🗣 "If we can find a couple of solutions and make the squad stronger, we'll certainly do that."#NUFC boss Eddie Howe says a couple of factors could make signings difficult in January but stressed the club are seeking solutions. pic.twitter.com/zIy2GMgWbL— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 19, 2021