On Newcastle and Eddie Howe’s recent success…
“I don’t think Eddie’s success is due to the fact he’s gone and bought a new team by splashing out enormous sums. They’ve bought some very good players and good players do cost money, and they’ve had to pay the asking price for them.
“I would say looking from the outside that what he and Dan Ashworth have done together is build a very good football team. They’ve brought players into the club that suit the philosophy and make the team they’ve got a better team because they’re not all superstars, but the ones they have bought for a bit more money have been perfect for their team and the way they want the team to play.
“I think he’s done an outstandingly good job. When he came in they were fighting relegation, and now they’re in the Champions League – you can’t do much better than that when you get given the chance to take on a club of Newcastle’s stature.
“They have such incredible support. Newcastle is very much a one-city team. That puts a lot of pressure to produce a winning team and that’s what he’s done, so hats off to him.
“I thought they finished last season quite brilliantly. They were one of the best teams in the league, that’s for sure, and when things did get stickier for them at the end, when they had to dig in and get a few results, they did that as well.
“I’d have been very surprised if their start to this season hadn’t been good. I don’t follow statistics, but I do know how many points they’ve got – one more than us – so I would suggest that would point to the fact that both of us have had reasonable starts to the season.”