Eddie Howe is banking on Bruno Guimaraes being ‘sparked into life’ by his success with Brazil after a slow start to the season at Newcastle – and has warned he won’t be loyal to players who don’t perform.
The midfielder has been central to the club’s rise to the Champions League and is on the verge of agreeing a lucrative new contract.
However, his form in recent matches has been some way below the standards he has set, and he was even involved in a social-media spat with a fan account last month on the back of perceived criticism.
Guimaraes started both of Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers this week and laid on goals in each of the victories over Bolivia and Peru.
The 25-year-old has returned to Tyneside buoyed by that contribution, and Howe believes it is Newcastle who will see the benefit, admitting he has been short of his best so far.
Eddie Howe is backing Bruno Guimaraes to return to his best following a successful international break
The Brazilian midfielder provided an assist in his side’s wins against both Peru and Bolivia
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‘It will hopefully inspire him and bring his confidence levels back to the very best they can be,’ said the head coach ahead of Saturday’s visit of Brentford.
‘Every player I’ve ever met is a confidence player, they need to feel good to play well. Hopefully that will be the thing that sparks Bruno into life for us.
‘He’s done some really good things at the start of the season and made some valuable contributions, so we hope that this is the thing that sees Bruno return to his very top form.’
Howe, whose side have lost their last three, added: ‘He had a great experience (with Brazil). He performed very well in both games. He has come back with a renewed spring in his step, which is great for us. He’s such a pivotal figure, a catalyst for a lot of our good work. We need him at his very best.’
And Howe, when pressed on loyalty to any players who don’t perform, said: ‘I am not judging anything on last year, I am judging on this year. I will judge every performance individually. I want to try and make the right decisions, but I won’t be overly loyal to players who don’t perform. That would be foolish.’
Despite regularly starring for his side since his arrival from Lyon, he has struggled at the start of the campaign
Sandro Tonali has also had teething issues at the start of the season having made a £52m switch from AC Milan
Questions continue to be asked about the balance of Newcastle’s three-man midfield, with £52million summer signing Sandro Tonali to right of Bruno and Joelinton to the left. They struggled during the most recent 3-1 defeat at Brighton and Tonali looks set to miss this weekend with a thigh injury.
Howe said: ‘If you look at the Aston Villa game (5-1 win on opening day), there was no time needed, it was almost natural. It was a thing of beauty how our midfield performed that day.
‘Fast forward a couple of weeks and suddenly people dissect things and have a different opinion. That’s where it’s important I don’t fall into that trap. We do our work on the training pitch to try to make sure the team performs at its best.
‘There will be an adapting period for Sandro, without a doubt. There was with Bruno. There is a period where players have to understand the dynamics of the team.’