Newcastle now have 39 points after 23 games in the league, and that’s just 7 points short of our overall total after 38 games last season, when we finished 12th.
Gabriel Obertan – after scoring in injury time last night
So there’s a good likelihood Newcastle can do a lot better this season, and we are on track for 64 points, and that was good enough for 5th place last seasons, which gives automatic Europa League qualification.
Of course we don’t wan to get ahead of ourselves, but at least we’re in with a shout for 5th place, but we’d need to finish above both Liverpool and Arsenal to do that.
And of course we will have Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse back for Sunday’s game against Aston Villa, and both Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye will be returning after another couple of games.
This is what the Newcastle manager said after the game last night:
“Papiss and Demba come back tomorrow (Thursday) and we have done brilliant while they have been away,” “When the guys went everyone thought it would be difficult for us.”
“We have had two big, big victories without them against QPR and this one tonight. Those results have been about resolve, resilience and grit.”
“We can now attack the second half of the season, we find ourselves fifth. It is incredible really. We are safe as well.”
“That’s a big barrier that we have overcome. We shouldn’t get away from that, to get that under our belt first is great, now with the games we have left we have to see what we can do.”
Demba Ba has been away since the Manchester United game, so Newcastle have played five games since then, and won three of them, including two wins against Blackburn and a win against QPR, and have lost two at Fulham and Brighton.
Leon Best was quite good last night but Shola Ameobi, for whatever reason, is in a bad run of form at the moment.
We think Demba Ba will start on Sunday and Papiss Cisse will come off the bench at some point in the second half, but it’s a great opportunity for Newcastle to get another 3 points in front of their supporters, if they can play somehow near their best.
“We had 80 balls into the box and we knew Tim, and all of the players, would have to be strong. I felt we were fortunate, which we weren’t at Brighton last Saturday.”
“I am really pleased for Gabriel too. He was a massive part of that 13 game unbeaten run we had at the start of the season and he has had to wait for his chance again. He took his goal well.”
“With the loss of Cabaye this morning (Wednesday), we knew it would be difficult. I am disappointed with the decision especially when Brighton and the pro game all came together to try to get him off the charge.”
Newcastle did well without Cabaye last night, although his presence was missed in those first 45 minutes until James Perch came on, and give some stability to Newcastle’s central midfield.
After Aston Villa, we have a tough match at White Hart Lane, so it would be really good to try to get the win against Villa, which is certainly possible.