Eddie Howe stayed calm and composed as Newcastle United prepare to take on Borussia Dortmund tomorrow evening in the Champions League. The Magpies approach tomorrow's St James's Park clash with the Germans sitting top of the group after an undefeated start.
Former Bournemouth boss Howe described the upcoming blockbuster as 'pivotal' and a massive leeway could be heading Newcastle's way at the halfway stage of the group stages.
He said: “We’ve made a good start but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We have to focus on what’s ahead of us and this is a pivotal game in the group.
“It’s early days to draw too many conclusions and that’s why we have to stay very level and not get too carried away in terms of our perceptions of ourselves.
“We have to prove in these early stages of the Champions League that we’re good enough. I still feel we need to be in that mindset going into this game.
“We have to start from zero every game. We have to impose ourselves on our opposition and do everything we can to try and win.
“I’d like to think we’re in a stronger position. I think we start with a bit more understanding of the dynamics and what’s going to happen to us, what we’re going through but that’s why I’m reluctant to draw too many long-term conclusions because this is only our third game. This will be a big test.
“It’s another real top test. This group was always going to be that way, going from AC Milan to PSG to Dortmund. It’s great to be involved in but as we said at the start of the group, we knew this would be a really tough examination for us, this is a key period in it now.
"We’ve been preparing and planning for this game since our last one. It’s a tough game indeed. I think the beauty of the PSG game, looking back, was the whole environment created by the supporters.
"I think we need to forget the PSG result. Take the confidence from it, but forget it and try and create that atmosphere all over again and, for us, try to recreate those energy and intensity levels and quality of our play to try to win the game."
Meeting with King Keegan
Ahead of tomorrow night's encounter - Howe got the opportunity to chat with Kevin Keegan, who was back on familiar territory as he was reminiscing about past times at the club.
Joined on stage by current manager Eddie Howe for the second half of a talk-in at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre on Monday, both managers are adored in their own respective rights at the club and the current St James's Park gaffer is looking to leave his own lasting legacy for generations of supporters to remember for days to come.
Howe added: “I really enjoyed it. For me, the chance to meet him personally, speak with him and spend time with him was a brilliant thing. He’s got such a great personality. He was in really good form, really positive with a lot of jokes and laughter.
"I could sense his emotion towards Newcastle and the emotion coming back to him from the people in the room. I’d love to get him back here again (at St. James’ Park) in some way to get the supporters to show their appreciation to him too.
“He was really relaxed and just seemed in a really good place of his life. I just enjoyed being with him and I’d love to spend more time with him and bring him back to the football club."
'We will support Tonali'
Meanwhile, Howe is looking to keep Sandro Tonali involved until further notice.
The Italy international didn't feature in last week's Euro 2024 qualifier against England and Newcastle have released a statement to say the 23-year-old is working with others to help with the investigation.
“As far as I’m aware, I’m expecting him to be available tomorrow,” said The Magpies’ boss.
“I’m in a position where I’ll plan like that until told differently. I can’t second guess what’s going to happen - he's trained and available for the game."