Bits from today's [questions to be read in reverse order, I assume]:
What do you make of Eddie Howe’s start as Newcastle United manager from afar?
He’s found a system, a habitual group of players, an eleven which repeats itself regularly, and he’s evened the team out in all of the games, they have been close to every opponent in all of the games they’ve played. This all talks positively about the job that he is doing.
Is this the best that you have seen Raphinha play in a Leeds United shirt?
No, he’s had many games where he has shone. The many actions where he has imbalanced in lots of games. To say that this was his best game in a Leeds shirt, I don’t have it so clear, but he has a player who it is easy to remember his goals, assists, dribbles, and good performances.
How do you view the relegation battle - are Leeds still in it?
We have to see how many points are in play, see what games the other teams have. You have to see in the succession of results which see tendencies - positive or negative - of each team. So after half of the season has passed, to discard any evolution or involution of each team it is not convenient, especially in a league that is so difficult.
Is this the worst spell of injuries that you’ve encounter in your managerial career?
Not with so many players, but it is very intriguing. Not so much how many injuries, but that the players who are injured are those who play in similar positions. In some way, we’ve always found solutions. It’s likely that for the game on the weekend that we’re going to recover Rodrigo, Roberts and Gelhardt. So the players out of the squad in that position are going to be Patrick Bamford and Sam Greenwood. Progressively, we have been resolving the situations that present themselves. The same with the absence of Pascal, Cooper, Diego, Koch. We’ve been resolving them with the contribution of Ayling as a centre-back and Koch as a defensive mid when he has been healthy, Forshaw as a defensive mid. It’s also true that all the clubs have problems with counting on all of their players.
How different a proposition are Newcastle United now, having signed two players?
With respect to the players that they’ve brought in, their positions are very specific. A right full-back and a centre-forward. It’s their centre-forward who comes to replace the player who usually plays in that position. They’re both classic centre-forwards, even if they have different characteristics, they both play as centre-forwards. The same with their right full-back, who plays at different heights down the right hand side. Those two signings are, from my point of view - and only with the rush to answer your question - because it is very difficult to interpret the opponent’s coach, and it is also inconvenient - but from my point of view, the players don’t alter the way Newcastle play, but the individualities who enrich a squad.
Can you tell me what you know about Brenden Aaronson and why he would be suitable for the way you play?
I prefer to speak about the player when it’s not a hypothetical possibility but when he’s actually our player.
In your opinion as a coach, would it be better for them to be played sooner rather than later?
Whatever the authorities say. Coaches don’t have the opportunity to decide when the games are played because that does allow for speculation.
Are you pushing to have the Aston Villa game rearranged for what would be the FA Cup fourth round weekend?
I don’t have a capacity to pick when the games are rearranged. They’re not decisions that I make.
Are the Firpo and Forshaw issues hamstring-related?
Will you have any players back for the Newcastle and in particular, how are Forshaw and Bamford?
Forshaw and Firpo have muscular injuries. Bamford has a new injury at the bottom of his foot. He’s overcome his muscular problems but now he has an issue at the bottom of his foot.
Do you feel postponement has been abused this season and are you surprised that more clubs haven’t used youth?
I don’t think so, but it’s not important what I think. The important thing is to trust those who administer the rules in that sense. Because there’s rules that define whether a game or cannot be suspended, and the condition you have to demonstrate for the game to be suspended, and because I trust in those who administer these decisions, and so I trust that when games were suspended, they met the criteria for them to be suspended. The question is not do the clubs take advantage of the rules, but it’s the question of if those who evalute them do well or badly. For a club to take advantage, there has to be an evaluation that was wrong or mistaken, because the rules have to be sufficiently clear.
Your side has recorded back-to-back wins in the league at a time when the squad is heavily depleted - how much satisfaction does it give you, as a coach, that you have created a mentality in the club that is able to overcome such adversity?
The difficulty, sometimes they are interpreted as obstacles, but sometimes it’s a situation to fortify the strength of the group. Up until now in the season, we’ve been constantly challenged, and we try to improve the quality of our responses in the face of adversity.
"Football is not so important that we can't have tolerance of incorrect evaluations."