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Newcastle manager focusing on ‘nine-game season’

Whatever you want to say about Kevin Keegan, you can’t accuse him of being unrealistic. He’s all too aware of Newcastle United’s current plight, with Sky Sports reporting that the Magpies manager has set a survival target to ensure he stays in a job and his team stay in the Premier League. Would they have had to worry about the prospect of the drop if Sam Allardyce was still in charge?

“Regardless of what people say, whether you are at the top of the table or the bottom of the table, you do look at other people’s results,” he said.

“But the one thing you have always got to focus on is your own. It’s no good keeping looking and saying, ‘They haven’t won a game,’ or ‘They have drawn there,’ if you are not winning games yourself.

“We have talked to the players this week about this being a nine-game season now.

‘There are nine games left, these are the fixtures, these are the ones we have at home, these are the ones we have away and this is what we expect of you’.

“We are trying to focus on winning the league we are in down at the bottom.”

Their first ‘mini-league’ match pitches them against Birmingham this evening and, considering they have failed to beat Bolton, Middlesbrough and Blackburn at home, you wouldn’t be backing them to win an away match against anyone. Although Keegan might be satisfied with a point at St Andrews, three points are absolutely essential against Fulham on Monday.

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