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HomeSportHowe says fans 'should dream' after 'perfect day'

Howe says fans ‘should dream’ after ‘perfect day’


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Manager Eddie Howe wants Newcastle supporters “to dream” after starting the new Premier League campaign with a “perfect day” at St James’ Park.Debutants Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes both scored, while Alexander Isak reminded everybody of his quality with two classy finishes.”We scored five – we could have scored more. Everything clicked for us,” Howe told Match of the Day.”It was a tight game decided by our ruthlessness in front of goal. Villa were also in the game, so we’re very pleased. We had to be at our best.”We knew we had a difficult start [with the fixture list], so you look at this game as a massive moment in our season. “Now we have to go to Manchester City, which is the hardest place to go. We’ve got to embrace the challenge and then of course Liverpool, but we will focus on City first.”Villa went into the game on a high having earned more points than any Premier League side other than Manchester City in the second half of the 2022-23 campaign and followed that form up with significant investment in their squad this summer.France winger Moussa Diaby impressed and scored a debut goal of his own after his £51m move from Bayer Leverkusen, while £31m defender Pau Torres showed some impressive ability on the ball when he replaced the injured Tyrone Mings during the first half.But the day belonged to Newcastle, whose new signings appear to have settled in quickly to life on Tyneside.Sandro Tonali dominated the midfield against Aston Villa on his Premier League debut’He has the arrogance of Pirlo’Former Everton and Scotland winger Pat Nevin, analysing for BBC 5 Live, was impressed with Tonali, who Newcastle bought from AC Milan for £55m.Nevin likened Tonali, who slotted in alongside Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton in an industrious and progressive engine room, to one of the icons of modern midfield play.”Newcastle fans are going to like Tonali if he keeps on playing like this,” said Nevin. “If you look at him and Guimaraes in midfield, that is a spectacular partnership.”Tonali was absolutely everywhere. He has a confident arrogance about himself. Just everything he does – his cross-field balls, his comfort and confidence on the ball – he has the arrogance of [Andrea] Pirlo on the ball.”He looks like the absolute complete midfielder. Everyone else was running around at top speed and he just seemed completely in control at every moment.”Newcastle legend Alan Shearer believes Tonali might turn out to be a “bargain”, even though Howe spent £55m to sign the Italy player.”As debuts go, this was as good as it gets – what a magnificent start to his Newcastle career,” said Shearer on Match of the Day. “It was the perfect midfield performance; a goal, an assist, tackles, great range of passing, late runs into the box, getting stuck in, did his bit defensively – he was involved in almost everything. “When you compare some of the prices that have been paid for midfielders and are about to be paid for them, I know it is early days… but he might turn out to be a bargain.”How good can Newcastle get?Newcastle fans may have worried they may suffer from ‘second season syndrome’ after reaching the Champions League for the first time in 20 years with a terrific 2022-23 campaign.But the evidence of this opening-day victory suggests they will not only be key contenders for the top four again, but could perhaps go one step further and mount a title challenge.Forward Anthony Gordon had one of his best games in a Newcastle shirt after a fine summer for England Under-21s and, alongside Barnes, Isak, and Miguel Almiron, will help Newcastle cause problems to even the best opponents.The midfield looks strong, with the dynamic Elliot Anderson and Sean Longstaff to add to the mix, while the Sven Botman-led defence looks solid.”Newcastle look very, very special, and they did from start to finish,” Nevin added.”They say one swallow doesn’t make a summer. But Newcastle fans will be drinking this in, and will likely be doing so many times this season.”Howe, who described Tonali as “magnificent”, says he has a good mix of players to choose from up front.”I went with Alex [Isak] today. Alex and Callum [Wilson] are two really top players and we saw Alex do well and then Callum come on and do well. That’s what we are going to need throughout a hard season,” he said.”Wilson is a top player and he looked razor-sharp when he came on.”

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