Jose Enrique praises Eddie Howe ahead of Newcastle vs Liverpool

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Eddie Howe became Newcastle manager after the Saudi Arabia backed takeover (Photo: Getty)

Former Newcastle defender Jose Enrique has praised Eddie Howe for turning the club’s fortunes around ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Saturday.

Howe moved to St. James Park last November, after the dismissal of Steve Bruce and the completion of the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover, with the Magpies 19th in the Premier League.

Since then, the club has embarked on an amazing run of form which has seen them lose just three of their last 16 games and they remain unbeaten at home in 2022, and Howe has received plenty of plaudits for his work.

‘Confidence wise the team was very, very low,’ Enrique told Metro Sport via Lord Ping.

‘They didn’t trust in the previous owner anymore, they were in last position, it was very difficult for them to get out and what he’s [Howe] done is a miracle.

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Jose Enrique played for Newcastle from 2007 to 2011 before joining Liverpool (Photo: Getty)

‘No one would have put a £1 bet on that. Not myself, not you, not anybody, not even Eddie. It’s incredible what he’s done.

While Howe has masterminded the turnaround, without the players signed in January, that include Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier, Enrique isn’t so sure Newcastle would have survived the drop.

He added: ‘The key was getting the right players because money doesn’t bring success. It helps but bringing in the right players does and that’s what Eddie did. They trusted him and he bought the right players.

‘I believe Eddie, [Pep] Guardiola, [Jurgen] Klopp, anybody that will have gone to that club and didn’t sign anyone in January would have gone down.

‘The players believe in his playing style and signing the right players in January was key.

Bruno Guimaraes joined Newcastle from Lyon in January in a deal worth up to £40million (Photo: Getty)

‘Bruno, we know how good he is now but we have to remember at the start he wasn’t playing why because Eddie is the kind of manager that will say, “Ok we play a different way here than in France, so I’ll give you little by little game time so you can adapt to my style and to my team,” and now he’s flying, he’s doing an incredible job.’

Newcastle are currently ninth in the table and an unprecedented win over quadruple chasing Liverpool would go a long way to securing the club’s first top-half finish in the Premier League since 2018.

Despite all that he has achieved, Enrique has urged the Newcastle supporters and owners to be patient with Howe and to not expect overnight success even if they are now the richest club in the world.

‘Eddie has a problem now. Why? Because if he finishes top 10 with just one transfer window, people will think if they end up spending £150 million in the summer or whatever, top six must be realistic.

‘Realistically for me, top 10 again for Newcastle next year should be the target. If you can get top eight or top six even, then amazing but step by step. The owners must be patient and trust in the project.

‘I really love Eddie, he is the right fit for them. He’s a top manager and obviously he still needs to prove himself at European level, but I really believe he can take Newcastle all the way.

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