Jonjo Shelvey says anything other than promotion would be a “complete failure” for Newcastle United.
Rafa Benitez has rebuilt his squad for the Championship.
The relegated club spent tens of millions of pounds in the summer transfer window – and still made a £30million-plus profit on transfers.
Shelvey, signed from Swansea City for £12million in January, says there can be no excuses this season given the talent in the dressing room.
“In my personal opinion, if we don’t go up, it’s a complete failure,” said the midfielder.
“When you look around at the dressing room and see the players we’ve got, we’ll have failed if we don’t get promoted.
“There are people here who have been there and done it, and there’s a lot of Premier League players in that changing room. Some of them have taken a step down to play in the Championship for Newcastle, so if we don’t go up, it’s a complete failure.”
United signed 12 players this summer, and there were almost as many outgoings – and more departures on loan – during the transfer window.
Moussa Sissoko was the last departure, with the midfielder having made a £30million move to Tottenham Hotspur just before last week’s deadline.
“There have been a lot of changes over the summer,” said Shelvey.
“There are a lot of new faces, and a lot of faces have gone from the changing room. That’s part and parcel of football. People come and go, while others stay. It’s just one of those things that you have to deal with as a player.
“You’ve just got to keep taking on board what the manager wants you to do.”
Asked if he expected so much change, Shelvey added: “You read things in the paper and on social media, and a lot of rumours go around.
“I don’t think you can believe anything until it happens though. You can’t believe anything until you actually see it. We knew things would be in the pipeline though.
“Moussa was still here right up the final week, and to be fair to him, he was training really well. He had a great attitude, but you could tell he wanted to leave and he came out and said that. All the best to him.
“Apart from that, everyone has been spot on, and we’ve got a really good squad now.
“We’ve got 24 or 25 top-class players, so it’s going to be a tough one for the manager to leave people out. There’ll be a few unhappy people, but that’s part and parcel of football. You just have to deal with it.
“It’s just nice that everything is finally settled now. The squad is there, and the manager has got the squad that he wants to fight for this league with. We’re all just pulling in one direction now.”
United are fourth in the Championship after winning three of their five games so far.
Benitez’s side were beaten by Fulham and Huddersfield Town in their opening two fixtures, but they quickly adjusted to the demands of the division.
“The first two games weren’t the best, we lost both of them, but we’ve bounced back really well since,” said the 24-year-old.
“We’re starting to put performances together now. It’s a results business, and that’s what matters.
“We’re fourth in the league now, and to be fair, it was a tough start. Fulham are a decent side, and there’ll be up there or thereabouts. You can sort of explain away that one.
“Huddersfield was different. We basically just got done on the counter-attack.”