Eddie Howe remains convinced that Newcastle have what it will take to preserve their Premier League status this season despite knowing they face an uphill battle to do so.
The Magpies’ new head coach took up the reins with the club sitting in 19th place in the table and five points adrift of safety.
Seven games into his reign, they have won only once all season and remain one place off the foot of the table with three points separating them from 17th-placed Watford, who have two games in hand.
Asked if there is enough within the squad to keep the club up, Howe replied: “Yes, absolutely there is. There are enough games, there’s enough talent in the squad.
“But we’re certainly aware also that time is against us and we can’t waste games and opportunities – if opportunities are there we have to take them because every game that we don’t win, it becomes harder and harder to achieve what we need to do.”
Howe finally tasted victory at the fourth time of asking when Newcastle beat Burnley 1-0 at St James Park on December 4 having managed only draws against promoted Brentford and Norwich.
They have since, perhaps predictably, lost to Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester City with key decisions going against them in the last two games, and face another difficult test when Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United head for Tyneside.
Howe could be forgiven for having been bowed by a tough start to his tenure, but the 44-year-old insists he is enjoying the experience.
He said: “Absolutely, absolutely loving it. The difficult moments and the tough challenges only enhance your determination to make it a success and to come out of the other side.
“It was never going to be easy, it was never going to be plain sailing. I’m fully aware of what football management is like through my experiences in it, so I’m here to get my head down, work hard, work my way through any tough situations for the benefit of this football club.
“I’d want more points, for sure. We came into a very difficult situation, so as I said when I came in, we were under no illusions about the size of the task that we had.
“But overall, I have to say I have been pleased with a lot of aspects of what we’ve delivered, but knowing there’s huge room for improvement.”