Eddie Howe says Newcastle are screaming at Allan Saint-Maximin’s “magic” after seeing his side’s winless streak in the Premier League stretch to six games after a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.
Howe spotted the Magpies’ lack of threat up front after they were forced to rely on an Alexander Isak penalty to save the fifth draw of the season after Philip Billing fired in front of the Cherry.
Saint-Maximin has been knocked down by injury since late last month and Howe acknowledged how important the Frenchman will be as he continues to intensify his progress towards the comeback sometime after the national team break.
“I think there is a huge hole for some like Maxi in a game like today, when you are playing against a stubborn opponent and you need some magic to open the door,” Howe admitted.
“You will never replace Allan, so we have to find a different way. I still believe we can win and be a very effective team without him, just very different.
“There is no one like him in the Premier League, he is a truly unique player and he brings gifts to the team that on a day like the one you need, but we just have to improve and we have to be better.”
Newcastle failed to assert their territorial dominance in a frustrating early period, though Kieran Tripper and Joelinton both hit the door and Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto parried brilliantly to block both the Brazilian and Ryan Fraser.
Gary O’Neil’s side threatened to aggravate Howe’s woes when Billing launched on a Jordan Zemura through ball to pass Nick Pope just after the hour, but Isak equalized three minutes after the VAR scored a hand ball against Cherries defender Jefferson Lerma.
Howe feels there may be more frustration for his team, as clubs try to dampen the atmosphere of St James’s Park by sitting deep and hoping to catch them off guard.
“It will not be a new problem for us, this will be one that will be there and we will have to be better with the ball, more creative and show more patience,” Howe added.
“It’s slightly new to us here at home and adapting to that here at home will be part of our learning.”
With takeover rumors starting to roll, O’Neil gasped over his managerial future, but the improvement in his squad was evident as they stretched their unbeaten streak under his leadership to three games since 9- 0 at Anfield.
O’Neil is set to discover his fate during the international hiatus, but said: “I have no thoughts about myself or my future. I’ll take care of the next game if asked, and let the rest take care of itself. “