Newcastle midfielder Andros Townsend prefers to have ‘points on the board’ than games in hand at this stage of the season.
Townsend’s superb free-kick eased Newcastle out of the drop zone last weekend as a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, coupled with Sunderland’s draw at Stoke and Norwich’s defeat at Arsenal, provided another twist.
The Magpies are only a point better off than the Black Cats and two ahead of the Canaries having played a game more as they head for Aston Villa on Saturday, but the former Tottenham midfielder is happy to be in that position.
He said: “You’d rather have points on the board than playing catch-up with games in hand.
“We have our points on the board. It’s now down to Norwich and Sunderland to get their points in their game in hand.
“We have done our job and hopefully we can go to Villa on Saturday and do it all again. We need to get three points then leave it to the others.”
If this weekend will not be decisive, it could prove hugely significant with Sunderland entertaining Chelsea at the Stadium of Light and Norwich welcoming Manchester United to Carrow Road before further home fixtures against Everton and Watford respectively on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, sources on Tyneside have played down a report linking Barcelona with a bid for striker Ayoze Perez this summer.
The highly-rated 22-year-old former Tenerife frontman has been touted as a target for a series of big clubs since his emergence at St James’ Park, although he is currently struggling to hold down a regular place in Rafael Benitez’s starting line-up.