‘I don’t lose any sleep’ - Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe makes Liverpool admission
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Seven wins in eight games, including a trio of victories against Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Southampton last week, has put the Magpies on the cusp of Champions League qualification - but Liverpool are threatening to make it a nervous finish.
After beating Fulham on Wednesday night via Mohamed Salah’s first-half penalty, Jurgen Klopp’s side will move within three points of United - who host Arsenal on Sunday - if they get the better of Brentford at Anfield tomorrow.
Howe, whose side will have played two games less (33) before kicking off against the Gunners at St James’ Park, insists his focus is on no-one but himself.
Asked if he was losing sleep over Liverpool’s top four charge, Howe replied: “I don’t lose any sleep over it.
“I’m aware that Liverpool are a top team. Does it surprise me they’re able to go on a run of wins? No. But there are other teams there as well but we’re not focusing on that, we haven’t done that all season.
“We’ve just focused on ourselves and that’s all we can do. We have a tough run, but at the same time, a great run of fixtures because every game is important. They’re great occasions and we look to carry out our good form.”
Whatever happens in the remaining five games against Arsenal, Leeds United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leicester City and Chelsea, United have already guaranteed a top-seven finish, which, in a worst-case scenario, is a spot in next season’s Europa Conference League.
Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa, who sit in seventh and eighth respectively on 54 points, can’t achieve maximum points to catch Newcastle with both clubs facing off at Villa Park next Saturday.
“I’m trusting your maths here but that’s a great thing to hear,” Howe told NewcastleWorld. “It doesn’t stop, does it? There are more challenges ahead for us. We can’t think for one second we’ve done OK. There are five more games to get as many points as we can.
"From this position, I could never be happy with that [finishing 7th] as that says we’ve lost five games. I can’t say I’d ever be content with that, my summer would be ruined looking back at what had just happened.
“It’s very much about me looking to the future and making sure we maximise the opportunities we have ahead of us.”
Howe added: “Nothing is done and I didn’t expect it to be done. We’re competing against elite teams who will fight to the end and we have to do the same.
“Our five games, we need to give our best preparation and focus to because the fight we’re in could go right down to the end of the season.”
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