Eddie Howe says it is “vital” Newcastle United managed to protect players during Saturday’s win at Fulham as injury problems begin to ease.
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Howe’s side ran out 4-1 winners at Craven Cottage after a commanding display against a poor home team, who went down to ten men early on thanks to Nathaniel Chalobah’s red card.
After so many injuries over the last few weeks, it was fantastic to see Callum Wilson score on his return to the fold, and even better to see Newcastle’s healthy lead afford Howe the luxury of taking the forward off. With Alexander Isak injured, keeping Wilson as fresh as can be is hugely important.
Bruno Guimaraes was also brought off after his niggles with Brazil, while Matt Targett made a late cameo as he stepped up his return. Joelinton, meanwhile, was not needed from the bench.
With Allan Saint-Maximin potentially back soon and Jonjo Shelvey reportedly making good progress on his injury, perhaps there’s little at the end of the tunnel.
What did Howe say about Fulham?
Speaking to the Press Association, Howe said: “I think it was vital for us.
“The difficulty is you can come into a game with a plan and you want to protect these players but in the throes of the game, when there’s points at stake, it can be difficult to withdraw them when they can make the difference between winning and losing.
“So with the scoreline and the way the game was it was really important to be able to try and keep them fit.”
What did Howe say of returning players?
Of Joelinton and Saint-Maximin, Howe revealed: “Joelinton picked up a knee injury against Bournemouth and hadn’t trained. He wanted to be involved, the type of character that he is and I wanted to protect him, but I know how important he is so he was there if we needed him as an absolute emergency.
“Hopefully a good week’s training will make the difference for him and he’ll be back next week and available for selection.
“Matt Targett had been ill so we thought it best to rest him.
“It’s been a difficult two weeks for us with not just injury running through the team but illness as well so it was nice to come here (Fulham) and win off the back of that.
“He (Saint-Maximin) did train with the team yesterday (Friday) and played well but for me it was too early to involve him. We need to make sure when he comes back he’s fit enough to do himself and the team justice, so hopefully with a good training week under his belt he can do well.”