Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has urged his players not to look at the Premier League table and instead put all of their focus into reaching 40 points this season.
Ahead of Sunday’s game against newly-promoted Norwich City, Newcastle sit bottom of the table after eight matches having failed to win any of their games so far.
After such a poor start to the campaign, McClaren admitted he would be foolish not to take 40 points and Premier League survival if it was offered to him at this stage.
“The most important thing at the present moment – and this is probably true for 10 or 11 of the clubs in the league – is to get to 40 points,” said the ex-England boss.
“Most of the clubs in the Premier League will be thinking the same. They all want to get there as quickly as they can. All this talk about tables and what other clubs are doing – it doesn’t matter.
“You have got to get those points and then everything else is irrelevant. At the present moment, being in the top eight is miles away.
“I remember having conversations with Harry [coach Steve Harrison] and he used to have a massive party whenever we got to 40 points whether that was in November, March, April, whenever.
“It is all about getting to that 40-point mark, then you can think about other things. Especially this year, that has to be the absolute priority. That is the focus.
“If someone said to me now, ‘You’ll have 40 points by mid-April’, I would take it. That’s just the perspective of where we are. I think people would think I had gone absolutely daft and crazy if I was sitting here now saying we would turn that down.”
The Norwich clash kicks off a key run of fixtures for Newcastle, who also have games against rivals Sunderland, Stoke City and AFC Bournemouth coming up in their upcoming schedule.
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