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Magpies fear nobody, says Anita
VURNON ANITA believes the Newcastle squad has the confidence to take on anyone at the moment after their latest win at Crystal Palace, but insists they will continue to take their campaign one game at a time.
Saturday’s convincing win at Selhurst Park means Newcastle will celebrate Christmas in the Premier League’s top six after a blistering run of form that includes six wins in their last eight games.
Alan Pardew’s men sit two points ahead of reigning champions Manchester United and staggeringly they are only six points behind leaders Liverpool with the opportunity to strengthen their squad just around the corner.
While the victory over Crystal Palace will count as a game the Magpies should be taking three points from they already have a number of impressive scalps in the bag after beating Man United, Tottenham and Chelsea.
Anita, who performed superbly alongside Cheik Tiote in the middle at Selhurst Park, admits the squad is enjoying their recent form and has revealed the players fear nobody with a tough test against Arsenal on the horizon.
However, with the small matter of a Boxing Day visit of Stoke City to come first, the Dutchman insists there the squad is only focused on their next game and refuses to get drawn into talk of a possible return to Europe next season.
“We know where we are in the table, but we must work hard every week and keep our focus on each game that comes,” said Anita, who is likely to retain his place in midfield with Tiote suspended on Thursday. “We have to take it game by game. We can’t let ourselves get too excited but if we win our games then we will see where we finish.
“We will go into these games with no fear, but we must take it one at a time. Stoke is first on Boxing Day and we must prepare properly for that. It will be like the Palace game and it will be tough but we must be prepared to battle and work hard.
“If we do that then we can play our game and then win the game. It’s important to win games and win at home, but to have five wins away is very good. We must keep on fighting and keep on working hard. Our next opportunity is Stoke at home.”
Talk of a return to Europe has gathered pace over the last six weeks, but no one inside the Magpies dressing room is allowing themselves to get carried away.
Saturday’s impressive win came against a galvanised team under Tony Pulis and they overcame treacherous weather conditions to play some neat and tidy football.
Anita believes the past two months have shown Pardew’s side is the real deal as long as they continue to play in a way that has proved hugely successful.
He said: “It is a sign of what we can do this season. It was a tough game (against Palace) but we approached it in the right way. We were ready for the battle and we won it.
“The conditions were very difficult and it took time for us to get a hold on the game, but when we did we played some nice football and it shows we can come up against anything at the moment. When the game settled down we could play our game and I think we did that very well.”
Four of Newcastle’s next five games are at St James’ Park, including their FA Cup third round tie against Cardiff City and Anita admits the next few weeks could determine how high his side finish at the end of the campaign.
He said: “This is a time that could shape our season. We have a lot of games coming up, but we must take it one game at a time and see what happens against Stoke.
“Our focus is on that and then Arsenal, but first we must look to Thursday’s game and try to get another win.
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