Jamaal Lascelles is happy again, back in full training and now only 12 days away from the next competitive match.
The squad has been increasing the intensity of the build up and an 11 v 11 training match on Saturday at St James Park, was followed by a 3-2 friendly win over Middlesbrough at the NUFC training ground earlier on Tuesday.
Jamaal Lascelles has been impressed with the work all the squad have done on an individual basis during lockdown.
The Newcastle captain declaring: ‘Everyone has stayed motivated because we know we could have been called back to training at any time. It was vital for us all to stay fit, and knowing we still have nine games to play, knowing we still have business to take care of, motivated us to do that.’
In an ideal world, Newcastle will put quickly to bed any lasting relegation worries, the restart seeing home games against Sheff Utd (Sun 21 June) and Villa (Wed 24 June).
A minimum of four points from those two games would put Newcastle on at least 39 points and surely set to be safe.
That would then allow them to throw everything at Man City on the following Sunday (28 June) in the FA Cup.
Jamaal Lascelles has gone with the old only thinking of the next game: ‘I’ve always said I like to step take things step by step. We want to beat Sheffield United, that is our next game at home.’
However, in what is a very strange season, the NUFC captain and the other players will surely have one eye on that Man City match and wondering what could be possible…
Jamaal Lascelles speaking to Sky Sports:
“It’s a relief [getting back to training], it has been different to normal pre-seasons, where you take your foot off the gas, go on holiday and chill out.
“Because we still have nine games to play, we’ve been given a team programme which every player has stuck to. That has been hard work really, so it has been nice getting back on the balls and seeing the team.
“You cannot beat match fitness, but the basic foundations – running and sharpness – is there. Normally when we turn up to pre-season, after the first couple of days your body is in bits because you are not used to it.
“But we’ve done three days now and we’re all fine, all well, and everyone is doing well, so there is definitely a big difference.
“Everyone has stayed motivated because we know we could have been called back to training at any time.
“It was vital for us all to stay fit, and knowing we still have nine games to play, knowing we still have business to take care of, motivated us to do that.
“[Playing at Newcastle] is one of the best feelings, especially if you win, there is no better feeling.
“The build-up from Monday to Friday in training, the preparation on Saturday, you turn up and the atmosphere is unreal.
“It’s our jobs, it what we live for and what we have been doing for a long time. I’ve played a lot of games at St. James’ Park, but it is still special every time.
“I’ve always said I like to step take things step by step.
“We want to beat Sheffield United, that is our next game at home. Ideally, [after that], we want to finish as high as possible.
“I have still been working [in his captaincy role during lockdown], I’ve had to take calls with the other captains and the Premier League. We set up the donation, so I had to speak to the players.
“I’ve been speaking to the club a lot, obviously the deferral situation was going on, so I have been quite busy, but that has all settled down now and it’s all football-focused.”