Wed 20 Dec 2023, 09:30 by Ash Harrison

This might be the anger talking but ... it's time to ask questions of Eddie Howe

This might be the anger talking but ... it's time to ask questions of Eddie Howe
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Right off the bat we just want to make it abundantly clear, we do not want Eddie Howe out. Not at all.

However, since the head coach worked his miracles last season and the half-season before that, he has been practically immune to criticism, but against Chelsea last night he had to face up to his errors.

In his post-match interview on Sky Sports, Eddie Howe failed to take any accountability for the problems that we as fans could see, namely poor substitutions.

Anthony Gordon should not have been out after half time

Anthony Gordon should have gone off at half time along with Sven Botman and Emil Krafth who Howe said took a knock.

Gordon looked completely off the pace after Moises Caicedo tried to slice his calf open with his studs at the start of the game, and then watching Gordon lose out on a foot race should have been the biggest red flag ever and yet it took Gordon sitting on the pitch to get the point across.

Then there's bringing Matt Ritchie on in his place when Lewis Hall would have been a much better option. Hall would feel he has a point to prove to both Eddie Howe and Chelsea, he'd have more pace to get in behind the defence were Newcastle ever able to string more than one pass together.

What does Lewis Hall have to do to get his chance?

Or, he could have used Hall at half time when Krafth came off and moved Tino Livramento to right-back, and just left Kieran Trippier on the bench.

Yes it's all easy to say now with the benefit of hindsight, but surely Howe must know how exhausted his players are. He can't keep relying on the same players because they are seen as senior players. Is an inexperienced player really worse than one who is mentally and physically drained?

We understand that it's not easy for Eddie Howe right now, the squad has been absolutely battered with injuries and he's working as best he can with what he's got, but it's got to be time to try something new.

Eddie Howe
Howe's immunity to criticism has to end

It's not just about Chelsea last night

Overall, Eddie Howe often seems reluctant to make full use of his bench and that's nothing new.

He's got all the data and all the expertise around him, but we're still driving multiple players into the ground and not using substitutes even when the players on the pitch are dead on their feet and it's starting to cost us.

When we have a full squad his substitutions were predictable too. Jacob Murphy entering the fray on 60 minutes in almost every game last season immediately springs to mind.

Howe is a top, top manager, no doubt about it, but his stubbornness is an issue that needs addressing.

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