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Jamaal Lascelles has hailed “phenomenal” Eddie Howe for the job he is doing at Newcastle United. When the 44-year-old took charge last November, the Magpies were winless and hurtling towards the Championship.
However, a dramatic turnaround in the second half of 2021-22 saw Newcastle finish 11th - and 14 points clear of the drop zone. Had the season started when Howe was appointed, United would have finished sixth in the Premier League.
Club captain Lascelles found himself benched for most of the winning run from January onwards. An illness suffered ahead of the 1-0 win against Aston Villa in February provided new signing Dan Burn an opportunity to stake his claim.
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The Blyth-born defender - released by Newcastle as an 11-year-old - forged a formidable partnership with Fabian Schar as survival was secured. Lascelles started just three games after his illness but played a pivotal role behind the scenes, refusing to sulk and fulfilling his duties as skipper.
Despite falling out of favour, the 28-year-old insists “nobody can say a bad word” about Howe and credited him for turning the club around. The scale of Newcastle’s transformation saw the former Bournemouth boss nominated for Premier League manager of the season.
“Nobody can say a bad word about him,” Lascelles told Sky Sports. “What he has done is phenomenal, from the position he picked us up to where we finished off at.
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“The transition of style, the philosophy, the feel around the place, improving individuals… It is crazy to think about what he has achieved. With the number of points we were on at the time - I don’t think any team would have survived.
“But we survived with flying colours and done extremely well. We all owe it to him. He turned our lives upside down from where we were. Now, it’s about picking up where we left off and pushing for higher goals.
“Because of how well we did, it has kind of put us in a position where there is a lot of expectation - but we want that ourselves. We have had a mentality shift; we expect to be winning games, making it hard for the bigger teams and competing.”
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