“This season it was probably about staying safe and survival, which we have done. I think starting in pre-season we will look at what aim and goal we want to go for next season – at the start of this season it was all about just staying up and see how far we could get. But we will have a different target at the start of next season. It’s a massive achievement to stay up. We had a lot of people doubting us, saying we were a Championship side, and that we’ve not got the players, we’ve not spent enough. It is nice to be able to say we proved a lot of people wrong.
“It has been quite tight in the bottom half of the table but we just managed to pull away. Again, the three teams who went down, you’d never had said that at the start of the season. Regardless of how much money you spend, it is about your character and how much you want it. Some clubs have spent millions - some have even spent hundreds of millions and probably not done as well as they should have done.
“We haven’t spent too much and people question how long we will stay in the Premier League – but with the right manager, obviously the right players that came in, and obviously the fanbase behind us, we’ve done really well. The manager has been quite smart in the players he has brought in. Not only are they good players, they’re good lads to have around and we have a really tight group. At other clubs you’ll have a £50m player, but he might not fit into a team.
“In our team, everyone fits in nicely, we’re all really close and we’ve got a good changing room. That’s where it starts. We know we’re not going to go out there and play teams off the park and beat teams 3-0 or 4-0 - but what we will do is give our all, and we’ll keep fighting until the final whistle. The manager has got big aspirations, he wants Newcastle to really push on. The club’s got a lot of history and a lot of people say we should be higher than we are. We have got everything: we’ve got the stadium, we’ve got the fanbase, we’ve got the manager, we’ve got the players. So everything is there for us to really kick on. We’ll come back in pre-season and see where the manager wants us to go.”