Fabian Schar reveals Newcastle United's 'benchmark' for next season ahead of Burnley trip
Fabian Schar and Newcastle United have their sights on a top half finish heading into the final game of the season at Burnley this Sunday (4pm kick-off).
The Magpies currently sit 12th in the Premier League table following Monday night’s 2-0 win over Arsenal at St James’s Park.
Schar went off with a head injury midway through the match and is a serious doubt to feature at Turf Moor this weekend as the club follow the Premier League’s concussion protocols.
Newcastle must beat Burnley and hope Brighton and Brentford both drop points on the final day in order to secure a top 10 finish.
Still, Eddie Howe’s side have little to play for in comparison to the Clarets, who head into the final day needing to equal or better Leeds United’s result against Brentford in order to stay up in the Premier League.
But Schar and Newcastle’s mentality is fully focused on ending the season with a win and potentially securing a top 10 finish against the odds.
The Magpies sat in the relegation zone in February and had won just one of their opening 20 league matches. Now they are the first Premier League side to stay up having failed to win in any of their opening 14 league games.
“You see how tight it is, if you lose a game – we went from 10th to 13th,” Schar said. “Everything around the top 10 is possible and it would be great for us to finish in the top 10 after this kind of season. We need [one] more win to have a chance.
“But I think more important for us players is to see things over the whole season – where we were, and where we are now.
"That’s the best thing you can have, to put this as a benchmark for next season. Hopefully we can finish the season in a good way and start next season in a better way.”
A win for Newcastle on Sunday would see them finish the season on 49 points, the club's highest total since returning to the top flight in 2017.
While Schar’s season could be over due to injury, he has played a key role in helping Newcastle stay in the Premier League after being handed a consistent run of matches by Howe.
The Swiss international’s performances were then rewarded with a new two-year contract extension at Newcastle. And he is feeling positive about the future on Tyneside ahead of the first summer transfer window and full season under new ownership.
“I think it’s something you want to have as a player – you want to have the biggest challenge you can have and seeing the club moving forward, being a part of it, is a great chance for every player,” he said in the Newcastle programme.
“Obviously you don’t know exactly what will happen in the summer of the next few years, but it’s that feeling of where the club is going…it’s a great challenge for each player.
"To be part of it is something I’m looking forward to, and I’m really looking forward to the next few years.”