Newcastle United midfielder Mo Diame has revealed he is personally aiming to try and secure the club a stunning top half finish this season ahead of his “big target” for after the summer break.
The Magpies helped close in on securing their top flight survival on Saturday with a 1-0 win over fellow relegation rivals Huddersfield, leaving them sitting 12th on 35 points with seven games left to play.
After an up-and-down season, which saw them slip into a fight to avoid the drop, they have managed to rescue their form where others have failed, and are now seven points clear of Southampton in 18th.
Sitting just two points off both Bournemouth and Watford in 10th and 11th respectively, Diame has stated that he is now aiming to push to try and break the top half of the table, in what would be a sensational achievement considering the club only returned to the Premier League this season, and their lack of transfer spend.
He told the Chronicle: “Yes [a top-half position is possible], we have to think about finishing as high as possible.
“For a club like us, it is important to have a big target for next season – which we can have if we finish high enough in the table.
“If we only finish 16th or 17th then the target will be just to finish above the relegation zone again. That is not what we want.”
Football Insider verdict
Newcastle might well be within touching distance of the top 10 but really there will be no expectation to finish there when the season comes to a close. The Magpies’ only aims right now need to be ensuring they secure their place in the Premier League for another campaign, and then they might be able to think about launching a push for a bright finish. As for next season, Diame is right about needing the have big plans, but those can only be met with a decent amount of support for Rafael Benitez from owner Mike Ashley – or the new owner if a takeover does happen. Otherwise, it could be another season of stress for the Toon Army.
In other Newcastle United news, the Magpies can avoid a massive double blow by getting pen to paper.