Newcastle United have a chance to continue their pursuit of a top half finish this week, as well as potentially trip up Manchester City in their Premier League title challenge.
But ahead of their clash on Sunday afternoon, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has been forced to call a team meeting after concerning quotes were published in a French magazine.
The publication 'So Foot' released an interview with Newcastle star Allan Saint-Maximin, during which the 25-year-old suggested his number of assists would be higher if he had more capable strikers as team-mates.
When asked if the comments have had an impact on the side's morale, Howe replied "I think it's just come across in the wrong way.
"You'd probably have to ask Allan what he meant by it, but it definitely wasn't meant, I don't think, as a criticism towards his team-mates. I think it was more based around him rather than his team-mates.
"Again, it's difficult for me to comment on something someone else has said, but definitely Maxi was concerned yesterday. He came to see me and if he had meant those comments in the way they have come across and been published, then he wouldn't have been in my office concerned about the reaction.
"It's something that I'll try to obviously speak to the guys about today and make sure there's no fall-out from."
Saint-Maximin has established himself as a fan favourite around St. James' Park since his £16million move from Nice back in 2019, and Eddie Howe believes the player's mood will be fine following the incident.
"I have no concerns over his mood," added Howe, before going on to deny any rumours of the player being fined.
"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."
A team meeting on the eve of facing the current league leaders wouldn't have been in Howe's ideal match preparations, but it could help galvanise the squad for what will inevitably be a difficult match.
The Magpies travel to the Etihad this weekend, with kick-off against Pep Guardiola's side scheduled for 16:30 BST.