EDDIE HOWE has spoken with Allan Saint-Maximin about the Frenchman’s controversial midweek comments, and will discuss the issue with the rest of the Newcastle squad this morning to ensure they do not lead to a major breakdown of trust within the squad.

Saint-Maximin gave an interview to French media outlet So Foot this week in which he suggested that he would be able to deliver more assists and goals if he had better players around him.

The Newcastle forward said: "I know very well that once surrounded by high level players, I will have a better statistical return. Because when you do a key pass, as we say here, whether it ends with a goal or not is no longer up to you. But key passes, I deliver a lot.

"Take Liverpool against (Man) United - when we see Mane’s goal, originally there is an ordinary cross from winger Luis Diaz. Only, on arrival, there is a Sadio Mane who can shoot left foot, right foot and wedge it into the side net. In the end, when you count the stats, it's a dice pass for Diaz.

"The day I have a player capable of finishing actions, I will make seasons with 10-15 assists, and I will change dimensions in people's heads."

Howe does not dispute that Saint-Maximin’s quoted comments are correct, although he argues the context of the comments has been somewhat lost in translation.

However, he has spoken to Saint-Maximin about the interview, and is clearly unhappy at the way in which his comments have overshadowed the build-up to Sunday’s game at Manchester City.

Howe said: "I saw the quotes, spoke with Allan. I think I need to make this clear that Allan’s quotes didn’t come across in the way he meant them to.

"He was concerned yesterday. We spoke, and in no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity that we’ve built. Of course, he said things in an interview, but, as I said, it wasn’t in the context that he meant, although it happened.

"We will be speaking with the squad, and making sure there’s no fallout from that, because unity has been our strength It’s vitally important that we keep that at all costs."

Howe is also set to speak to his squad about the subject matter of their future interviews, and while he will not be fining Saint-Maximin in the wake of this week’s events, he will be seeking to educate the 25-year-old to avoid a repeat in the future.

He said: "Ideally, I would not want any of my players speaking about anything other than themselves and their own careers. I don’t think players need to talk about their players (team-mates) or players from other clubs.

"It is about protecting the team and everything we do it, giving off united and positive messages even in difficult moments and that can be tough. But that is my ideal, and what I want my team to do. 

"I have no concerns over his mood. I don’t think I will be fining him about that situation, it is more a case of education and making sure players know what we expect of them."