Newcastle travel to Sheffield United this Sunday looking for an important three points to propel them up the Premier League table.
Eddie Howe’s side have disappointed for large parts of the 2023/24 campaign so far, but a win against Brentford and a midweek Champions League draw against AC Milan will have given Eddie Howe the knowledge that when his players have to dig in and get a result, they’re perfectly capable of doing so.
They’ll need a big performance at Bramall Lane too because at present, their six points from five games mean that they are languishing in 12th place and are already nine points behind leaders, Man City.
One player that, given time, can be a game changer for them is Sandro Tonali.
The Italian was recently defended in a press conference by his manager, Eddie Howe, and transfer guru, Fabrizio Romano, believes the Magpies manager is 100 percent correct.
‘Sandro Tonali is a fantastic midfielder and a top professional. I agree with Eddie Howe: the Newcastle fans need to be patient with him. He’s only 23 years of age and is living in a new city, has a new life in a new country… and is playing in a new league,’ he wrote in his exclusive CaughtOffside Substack.
‘Tonali has superb skills, and he just needs to adapt to his new surroundings and a different style of football and he’ll perform. I’m sure about that, he’s a great player.’
Expectations amongst the Toon Army will have sky rocketed after last season’s relative successes, and perhaps having the start they’ve already endured has tempered those expectations a little, which is no bad thing.
It may actually allow Howe and his coaching staff to buy some time and get to work on the areas of the squad which need the most improvement.
Just five games into a season isn’t the time to worry in any event, and the expectation at the club will surely be that with five games left of the campaign, Newcastle will be in a much healthier position.