Eddie Howe walked away from Newcastle’s destruction of Tottenham believing there is more to come from his Champions League-chasing team.
The Magpies produced a devastating display of attacking football in the opening 21 minutes of Sunday’s high stakes Premier League clash at St James’ Park to take a 5-0 lead on their way to a 6-1 victory which cemented their hold on a place in the top four with seven games remaining.
However, their head coach instantly began preparations for Thursday night’s trip to relegation-haunted Everton hopeful that they can be even better.
Howe said: “If you’re saying that’s us at our best, then there’s only one place to go, and that’s down.
“That was hopefully a glimpse of what we’re capable of, but you’ve got to believe there’s better and more to come from us.”
Howe’s comments may send a shiver down the spines of all but the absolute elite of English football with Newcastle’s spending power under their new Saudi-backed owners meaning they are unlikely to stand still this summer whatever happens over the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that nine of the 16 players involved on Sunday – Fabian Schar, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton, Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy, Javier Manquillo, Jamaal Lascelles, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson – were at the club long before the takeover went through and three of them were responsible for four of the goals.
Only nine minutes had elapsed by that point, but things were to get much, much worse for Spurs, whose decision to switch to a back four with Ivan Perisic at left-back for their afternoon on Tyneside backfired spectacularly.
Alexander Isak took full advantage of that disarray to take his tally for an injury-hit season to 10 with faultlessly executed 19th and 21st-minute efforts and although Harry Kane pulled one back shortly after the restart, substitute Callum Wilson completed the rout eight days after a sobering 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
It was the first time Newcastle had scored six in the Premier League since a 6-2 victory over Norwich in October 2015, and mercifully for Spurs, fell just short of their 7-1 demolition they suffered at St James’ in December 1996.
Record signing Isak said: “It was kind of a statement after last week at Villa. To come back and give a performance like this shows a lot.
“It was incredible. From the first minute, we showed that we really wanted this – it paid off. It was 3-0 after nine minutes, that’s incredible too.”
The Magpies will prepare for their trip to Goodison Park sitting third in the table, above Manchester United on goal difference having played a match more, but crucially six points better off than fifth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand, although aware that Aston Villa, Liverpool and Brighton also remain in the hunt.