Howe insists joining Newcastle 'a football decision'

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New Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe insisted joining the club was "a football decision" as he faced questions over the human rights record of Saudi Arabia.

A consortium that included Saudi Arabia's public wealth fund took control of Newcastle in a reported £305million deal, which was approved by the Premier League last month.

The takeover has been met with criticism from some supporters due to Saudi Arabia's human rights record, but new Magpies manager Howe was reluctant to debate the topic.

Ex-Bournemouth boss Howe maintained that he was only focused on football and the stature of the Tyneside club when he decided to take the job.

"Naturally, this is a football decision," Howe said at his official unveiling. "I'm absolutely delighted to be the manager of Newcastle. 

"My focus is football. Running the team, managing the players. That's all I'm going to talk about and that's all I'm going to think about.

"Everything just felt right. The pull of the club is huge, the size of the club, the history of the club. Obviously the new, ambitious plans, the new owners, knowing some of the players, the squad.

"I just thought it was a perfect fit for me. Yes, I've had lots of other options, but I wanted to take my time and really be utilising my time away from the game. I feel refreshed, energised and ready to start work."

Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League after 11 games and are the only team in the division still yet to win a match, managing just five points so far.

The club are five points from safety and, despite the grand ambitions of long-term success, Howe insists that avoiding the drop this season is both his, and the owners', primary focus.

"[The owners and I have] had some really good conversations," Howe continued. 

"I've been very, very impressed by their vision of the club but, to be honest, I haven't delved into that too much because it's all about the short term.

"Obviously the position of the team, we need to try and address that very quickly, move up the league and the aim is to stay in the league, to avoid relegation.

"That's what I'll be working towards and that's really my main focus at the moment, everything else can wait for another day."

Despite the club's precarious position in the table, Howe remained positive about Newcastle's chances of survival under his guidance - but stopped short of making any guarantees.

"I'm absolutely confident that we can [avoid relegation], but I make no promises on that," Howe added. "All I can do is lead the club to the best of my abilities.

"I'll give everything to the job, I'll commit 100 per cent every single day to try and bring success to Newcastle for everybody connected with the club.

"I believe we have the ability within the squad, with the players, to achieve that aim, but it's going to take a lot of hard work.

"It's going to take a lot of sacrifice, suffering, in terms of the players giving everything that they have to try and commit to the objective that we need."