Jonjo Shelvey has admitted to the Chronicle that Newcastle United deserved to be relegated last season.
The midfielder faced up to the truth when he admitted that Newcastle “weren’t good enough” and that the squad has a responsibility to put it right. Feeling sorry for themselves is not on the agenda as far as he is concerned:
“We’ve brought in some tremendous signings, and it’s obviously another big plus with the manager staying.
“He’ll be giving it his best shot to try to get us out of the Championship. It’s down to us now to repay the fans for sticking by us.”
It’s part of the healing process; the players should, by now, have come to terms with relegation and be entirely focussed on the task ahead.
Whilst Georges Leekens was kind in his appraisal of the Magpies at the weekend, the opposition will be tougher than anything we’ve faced in pre-season so far. Southend United aren’t a tough test either; Phil Brown, the Shrimpers manager, is already talking about performance being more important than the result.
The danger is that another win may imbue a false sense of entitlement. We have yet to lose a pre-season game and the biggest enemy to Rafa is complacency. Just because we’ve beaten all-comers so far, doesn’t automatically make it a certainty the form will continue into the actual season itself.