Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi expects tough battle to repeat top-five finish

 

Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi admits matching last season's top-five finish would be the biggest achievement of his career on Tyneside.

The Magpies will head into the new campaign having created a new expectation following their remarkable and largely unheralded surge into the upper reaches of the Barclays Premier League.

But Ameobi, who has played Champions League football and suffered the pain of relegation during his time at St James' Park, knows repeating the feat will be a tough challenge.

The 30-year-old told the Journal: "It's certainly going to be really difficult to replicate what we did last season.

"Just look at teams such as Liverpool and Chelsea - I can't see them doing as badly this time in terms of where they finished in the league last season, so we are going to have to raise the bar again.

"If we did manage to do that, for me, it would mean finishing in a European spot again this season.

"Certainly, as I look back at my career with Newcastle, to do that this time would be our biggest every achievement."

Ameobi, who broke into the first team under Sir Bobby Robson during the 2000-01 season, witnessed all the drama which surrounded the club during an eventful period in its history at close hand, with high-profile signings, a change of ownership and a series of controversies on and off the pitch earning repeated newspaper headlines.

As a result, he is revelling in the relative calm which exists at the moment.

He said: "There is not much chaos around these days, which is unusual when you look at what's happened over the years here. But it's fantastic.

"The manager and staff have built a good team and it's now all about the football, and that's great to see. It's brilliant to be part of that."

PA

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