Eddie Howe’s reign as Newcastle United manager kicked off with a draw, but he still has to wait for his first appearance on the touchline.

The 43-year-old was nowhere to be seen on Saturday, ruled out of the game due to a positive COVID test on Friday.

It was a huge blow for the Magpies, who have been witnessing a wave of positivity since Howe arrived.

Despite Howe’s absence, Newcastle played much better against Brentford. They were exciting to watch, creating chances with a new willingness to get forward.

Newcastle United v Brentford - Premier League
(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

However, defensive issues remained and cost Newcastle that elusive first win of the season.

But would things have been different if Howe had been in attendance?

 

Did the Newcastle players miss Eddie Howe?

According to the Athletic, a first-team source believes Howe’s absence ‘took a little of the wind out of our sails’.

I know we didn’t win, but that comment is somewhat encouraging. It shows there’s more to come when Howe returns.

While the table isn’t pretty right now, the performance was positive on Saturday. Yes, there were clear issues. There needs to be some personnel changes. But it was a lot better than it has been. There was reason to be hopeful.

Newcastle United v Brentford - Premier League
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

On the other hand, it makes the result all the more disappointing. If Howe had been there, perhaps we would’ve won. But we’ve been denied by a positive COVID test.

Howe’s absence didn’t hinder the atmosphere. The crowd stuck with the players, and did their best to drag them to victory. Alas, it wasn’t enough.

Hopefully the manager is in attendance on Saturday when we head to Arsenal in what is set to be another huge game.

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