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Eddie Howe warns players to stay grounded as Newcastle climb out of drop zone

The Magpies face Aston Villa on Tyneside at the weekend.

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Eddie Howe, centre, is keeping his feet on the ground after back-to-back wins (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Eddie Howe, centre, is keeping his feet on the ground after back-to-back wins (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Eddie Howe, centre, is keeping his feet on the ground after back-to-back wins (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Eddie Howe has warned Newcastle they have done nothing yet despite seeing them climb out of the Premier League relegation zone with victory over Everton.

The 3-1 victory at St James’ Park – their second in succession – left Howe’s men just a point behind the Toffees and more pertinently, two clear of the drop zone, although still with much work to be done.

However as he turned his attention to Sunday’s home clash with Aston Villa, the Magpies’ head coach said: “Back-to-back wins change the mood, change the feeling. What we have to do at this moment, though, is stay very calm and very focused.

“It’s two wins, nothing has been achieved. We’re very happy with what we’ve delivered in those two games, but now we have to focus on the next one.”

Newcastle had to do it the hard way after falling behind to skipper Jamaal Lascelles’ 36th-minute own goal, although they were level within seconds when Mason Holgate suffered a similar fate.

Ryan Fraser stabbed the home side in front 11 minutes into the second half, but it was Kieran Trippier’s fine 80th-minute free-kick which sealed a priceless win.

Howe said: “We’re in a relegation battle and we need to stick together and fight for everything. It’s not going to be perfect football, they are not going to be perfect games at this moment, but we’re in a position where we have to find a way to win even if we’re not playing at our best.

“We have to stay in games, we have to be competitive and I thought we were tonight.”

Howe, who handed a debut as a late substitute to £35million signing Bruno Guimaraes, was particularly delighted with Trippier’s contribution on and off the pitch, although disappointed to lose the £12million man to a slight calf injury at the death.

He said: “Kieran, I thought, was first-class, not just his performance on the pitch, but just the way he conducts himself and leads the group, his voice in the changing room.

“He is so respected already and producing levels of performance like that, so I’ve been really pleaded with him.”

Opposite number Frank Lampard’s reign remains in its infancy and he insisted he is not looking at the bigger picture despite seeing the club dragged into the relegation mire.

Asked if they were in a survival fight ahead of Leeds’ weekend visit to Goodison Park, he said: “It’s just words to say that.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves and look at the big picture. The only focus is on Leeds to reproduce the way we played against Brentford to try to get a result there and take every game step by step.”

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Lampard, however, felt Magpies midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was fortunate to escape with a yellow card for a first-half challenge on Anthony Gordon.

He said: “It wasn’t a nice challenge. It’s not worth reflecting too much on it. It’s somewhere around a red.

“It was definitely an endangering the safety of a player tackle and that’s normally the parameter they go by.”

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