Salomon Rondon is targeting a “cup final” victory over Burnley as Newcastle attempt to make home comforts tell in the race for Premier League survival.
The Venezuela international scored his eighth goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 win against 10-man Huddersfield – a third in succession at St James’ Park – to boost the Magpies’ hopes of retaining their top-flight status. Miguel Almiron was also excellent.
However, Rondon and his team-mates are refusing to rest on their laurels as they prepare for Tuesday night’s visit of in-form Burnley to Tyneside.
Rondon told NUFC TV: “We have to be clear because if you want to stay in the Premier League, you have to win the games at home. It’s massive in this league.
“To go anywhere, you have to play against a lot of big teams and try to get some points. After that, we did well today and three wins in a row at St James’ Park is massive for us and we’ll just carry on.
“We know we got the three points, but we have another final against Burnley on Tuesday and we have to be clear, it will be a difficult game, a tough game, but we have to be ready.”
Rafael Benitez’s men have established a momentum in recent weeks having suffered a slow start to the campaign which saw them lose their first five games on home turf, albeit that their opening three fixtures at St James’ were against Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.
They have collected 10 of the last 15 points on offer to ease themselves four clear of the drop zone on Saturday evening and while there is still work to be done, the trend is moving in the right direction.
Their latest win was delivered courtesy of a patient performance against the Terriers, who defended doggedly despite having skipper Tommy Smith sent off for a rash 20th-minute challenge on impressive debutant Miguel Almiron until Rondon broke the deadlock.
He did so from close range within a minute of the restart and when Ayoze Perez added a second six minutes later, Newcastle were home and dry on a day when they also hit the woodwork on four occasions.
Rondon said: “When they lose a player, the other team tries to stay compact and it’s difficult to play against. But we took the chances at the start of the second half and we played really well.
“After that, we controlled the game and tried to play it simple, and we got the three points.”