Newcastle United fans have been poring over the Premier League table.
After all, the newly-promoted club is seventh in the division – and just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea – after last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Rafa Benitez, however, is reluctant to look to closely at the standings at this stage of the season.
Midfielder Isaac Hayden, for his part, prefers to look towards the club’s next game.
“I don’t really think the lads do look at the table, because it’s pointless at this stage of the season as there are so many games to go and points to play for,” said Hayden. “It means nothing.
“The most important thing we look at is each game.
I’m just enjoying it. I’m going to have bad games and good games. But I’m learning as I go along and trying to improve week by week and take little things from each game.Isaac Hayden
“Three points were up for grabs (against Palace), and we took them. The next game’s another opportunity to get three points.”
An 85th-minute goal saw Newcastle take all three points from a stubborn Palace side.
“It was difficult,” said the 22-year-old. “Palace are a good side. Their position in the table doesn’t tell you the whole picture of their team. They’re a dangerous team, and they made it difficult.
“Obviously, we had to get the three points. It wasn’t the way we wanted to do it, but three points was what we wanted.
“It was difficult with the two lads up front on the counter-attack. They did that quite well. It was a different style of game, probably more difficult than what we’ve been used to.
“Again, it’s a new challenge. We kept going to the end, and we got our rewards for it. It was a great header by Mikel. It got a slight deflection, but it was a fantastic header.”
Hayden, signed from Arsenal last year, has played in all of the club’s nine league games.
Up until this season, the England Under-21 international hadn’t kicked a ball in the division.
And Hayden, preparing for Monday night’s game against Burnley at Turf Moor, is enjoying every minute of his time on the pitch.
“Every player wants to play in the best division in the world,” said the Chelmsford-born player. “I’m just enjoying it.
“I’m going to have bad games and good games. But I’m learning as I go along and trying to improve week by week and take little things from each game.
“Staying fit this season is the most important thing for me. I just want to try and stay fit and do my best.”
Asked about the biggest difference between playing the Premier League and Championship, Hayden said: “The players are just better – that’s it. The tempo’s quicker.
“The players you’re playing against week in, week out are just better players.
“The divisions don’t lie. The players who play at that level for a long time aren’t bad players.”