Yohan Cabaye feels Newcastle United’s form in December will determine whether reaching the UEFA Champions League is a realistic aim.
The midfielder scored the only goal as Newcastle beat Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time in 41 years last Saturday.
Alan Pardew’s men have won five of their last six games and are only three points adrift of the Champions League places ahead of the visit of Southampton on Saturday.
Newcastle finished fifth in the 2011-12 campaign but, although Cabaye accepts their form has been markedly similar this season, the France international believes the true test is still to come.
“There are similarities to two years ago, but it is too early to start getting carried away,” Cabaye told The Journal.
“Five wins out of the last six matches is a very good record, and hopefully at the end, we will have the same finish as we did two years ago.
“We can’t afford to think about the future too much at this stage.
“People might start talking about qualifying for Europe, or even the Champions League, but we can’t afford to think like that. The Christmas period is coming, and that is always an important period.
“If we are in the same position as now in the middle of January, then why not starting to look further forward? But we have to get there first.
“There are going to be a lot of games in the next month, and we will have to focus on our recovery between matches.
“We need to keep all the players as fit as we can, because that will help us play to our best, and that is the only way we can stay close to the top of the league.”