Chris Hughton broke his silence over Newcastle's promotion credentials today after issuing something that sounded considerably like a rallying call to his Newcastle team.
The Toon boss has been relatively tight-lipped over the chances of Newcastle returning to the top flight this season but has now called for consistency in the Championship run-in. With Newcastle currently six points clear of closest rivals West Brom and a game less played, it's looking good for Hughton's men.
Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo kicked off the first round of mind games with a sly comment about Newcastle's promotion chances on Tuesday, and seemed to be desperate to put some pressure on the Magpies.
"I have been saying for a while now that it is probably going to go down to the last few games. But I think this month will probably be decisive in terms of Newcastle pulling away or not." said the former Chelsea star.
Admittedly it's not exactly the sort of scathing attack that is often associated with Premier League title races, but it was a statement designed to inject some pressure in to the Newcastle squad.
Di Matteo knows that for his side to claw Newcastle back then the Magpies have to slip up, and with just one league defeat in the twenty-odd games since Chris Hughton took permanent charge the Toon may need to be forced into an error.
With Lovenkrands claiming there's no pressure at home and the absent Steven Taylor eyeing up a League title perhaps it's no surprise that Di Matteo has sensed it's time to play the over confidence card. Basically saying it's Newcastle's title to lose from now on.
Hughton responded with the typical calmness that has oozed out of his press conferences all season, and has subsequently seeped into the players themselves.
"We're approaching a run of games that come thick and fast. Having a head of steam up going into them is very important. A run of consistent results over the next seven weeks should see us achieve our objective."
The 'objective' is undoubtedly promotion as oppose to the title, but if we can maintain a winning mentality for long enough to see us go up, I'd back us to take the title too.
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