Gary Neville makes shock Newcastle United U-Turn amid Champions League battle with Man United and Spurs

Gary Neville now believes Newcastle United will finish in a top-four spot in the Premier League this season.
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Despite a stumble at the beginning of 2023, Newcastle have been in and amongst the battle for a Champions League place throughout the campaign. Eddie Howe’s side defeated fellow hopefuls Brentford at the weekend to make it five wins on the bounce and to reignite their hopes of qualifying for the competition they last played in over two decades ago.

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With nine games of the season to go, Newcastle hold a slender three point advantage and a game in-hand over Tottenham Hotspur in 5th place. They are also above Manchester United on goal difference with the race for a top-four place seemingly now between the trio.

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The race for a Champions League spot looks like it will go right to the wire but, for the first time this season, Gary Neville is predicting that the Magpies will be one of the sides celebrating come the end of the campaign. Speaking on his podcast alongside Martin Tyler, Neville believes the work Newcastle have done over the last week or so has put them in pole-position to qualify for European football’s premier competition once again.

Neville said: “What a week. To beat Manchester United, West Ham away and then Brentford away that’s a tough week and to get nine points - that's a brilliant performance.

“I didn’t have them down as top-four probably three weeks ago and even after the [Manchester] United game, I thought ‘well they’ve got three tough away games now in West Ham, Brentford and Aston Villa. You’ll probably drop points in that and it will give Tottenham and Liverpool maybe a chance’.

“But looking at them now, watching them closely against Manchester United where I thought they were absolutely brilliant, I think they will finish in the top-four now because their confidence will be so high.”

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United celebrates after teammate Alexander Isak (2L) scores the team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Newcastle United at Brentford Community Stadium on April 08, 2023 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United celebrates after teammate Alexander Isak (2L) scores the team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Newcastle United at Brentford Community Stadium on April 08, 2023 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United celebrates after teammate Alexander Isak (2L) scores the team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Newcastle United at Brentford Community Stadium on April 08, 2023 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
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Following their impressive victory over Brentford at the weekend, Newcastle’s next task is against an in-form Aston Villa side. The Magpies have been beaten 2-0 in each of their last three matches against the Villains at Villa Park.