Newcastle boss Howe seeking improvement for Portugal trip

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is happy returning to Portugal this week.

Newcastle are to face Burnley in behind closed doors training game, in the same style as the 5-1 win over Gateshead, and then a clash with Benfica in front of fans.

He said: “We’re back to Newcastle for a couple of days, then we’re out on Thursday – and we have two really good games in Portugal. The players should complete 90 (minutes) in Portugal, which is a big step in pre-season. Once you have that first 90 minutes under your belt, then you’re in a good place.”

After defeat to Mainz, Howe said: “We want to score goals, create goals, that’s how we want to play. In these conditions, it’s so hot, and the pitch is slow, so when you’re a team trying to make the game, that’s not easy.

“But, saying that, we have very good players – and we should be doing a little bit better than today, I think. When you watch pre-season games back, you have to have a very critical eye, but also acknowledge where the lads are at.

“The most important thing is that we’re ready for the first game, not this game today. We always want creativity, whether it’s the first day, last day or in the middle.”