Those comments may well come as a shock to a lot of Newcastle fans and people outside of Tyneside given the Magpies are currently sitting third in the Premier League, have lost once all season and are only two points behind Manchester City.
However, they should fill many Newcastle fans with confidence, as it shows Howe is not the type of manager to aim too high when things are going well and is firmly keeping his feet on the ground.
Crook, who knows Howe well from his time at Bournemouth, has claimed the Toon boss will only be looking to reach 40 points at present as he looks to keep a lid on expectations.
He said: “Eddie Howe’s feet, I can tell you as someone who knows him well from when he was down on the south coast, they will be firmly on the ground. And if he came on this programme tonight, he’d still be saying, ‘let’s just get to 40 points and we will go from there’.
Will Newcastle finish in the top four?
“You will not hear Eddie Howe talking about challenging for the title. If they were four points clear with a game to go, he’d still say it’s not done yet.”
TIF Thoughts on Howe’s ability to manage expectations…
While some people may see this as odd for Howe to be thinking about relegation, it is actually a very smart way to ensure he nor his players get carried away with how good they are performing this season.
Howe would much rather leave all the excitement and speculation over Newcastle making the top four to the media and continue to focus on getting every ounce of talent out of his players, as he’s done with the likes of Miguel Almiron and Joe Willock.
However, it would be unreasonable for Howe to expect Newcastle fans to be thinking of getting to 40 points when they’re third in the league and only seven points off the top of the table heading into Christmas, but that sort of excitement and a chance to dream could push them towards a memorable season.