'I still think we're in a relegation battle' – The key quotes from Eddie Howe's post-match press conference after Newcastle beat Brighton
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Eddie Howe insists that Newcastle United are still firmly embroiled in a relegation battle, despite their narrow victory over Brighton & Hove Albion moving them seven points clear of the bottom three.

Goals from Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar within the space of two minutes had The Magpies comfortably in front just a quarter of the way through the first half.

Lewis Dunk got a goal back for the visitors 10 minutes after the interval, but it proved only to be a consolation as Newcastle managed to see the rest of the game out to make it eight straight games unbeaten in the Premier League.

Howe said to the media in his post-match press conference: "I still think we're in a relegation battle. It's important the players feel that because we can't stop.

"We have a really difficult run of games so today was very important.

"It's lifted us in terms of points but we haven't achieved anything yet."

'We knew it would be difficult'

Newcastle were far from their brilliant best this afternoon but were able to get over the line – a sign of how far they have come under Howe in such a short space of time.

"It was a tough game," Howe said.

"I've got full respect for Brighton and for Graham Potter.

"I think they've only lost two away games prior to today.

"We knew it would be difficult and we wouldn't have the ball for spells of the game and it was going to be about how well we defended."

He added: "With the two goal lead so early in the game it did come down to how we were out of possession and defending our goal, especially when it went 2-1.

"I'm very pleased with the players."

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Survival hand strengthening

The Magpies are on course to become the first side in Premier League history to escape relegation after being winless from their opening 14 matches.

Howe's side are just five points off the top ten, something that would've been unthinkable just a few months ago.

He said: "We've come from a long way back. We had a lot of work to do.

"The players have committed to everything again. The spirit & resolve needed is there.

"There could have been improvements today but at the moment it's all about results and it was another good one."

On Ryan Fraser's afternoon

Ryan Fraser is going from strength to strength in a black and white shirt under Eddie Howe.

The Scotsman – who was nominated for the Premier League 'Player of the Month' award for February – bagged a goal and assist this afternoon, and his boss was raving about him after the game.

Howe said to the media: "Ryan is a goal creator and I'm really pleased that he created one from a set play today.

"It's great to see him be a goalscorer too because we need goals from every area of the team.

"It's so important you believe you have goals in different areas of your team."

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