Jamaal Lascelles says Newcastle United are determined to end their home campaign on a high.
The club, which takes on title-chasing Liverpool tomorrow night, has recorded convincing final wins at St James’s Park since Rafa Benitez took charge three years ago.
Newcastle, 13th in the Premier League with two games left to play, beat defending champions Chelsea 3-0 last season, and Barnsley by the same scoreline in the Championship 12 months earlier.
And United, already relegated, hammered high-flying Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at St James’s Park on the final day of the 2015-16 season.
Lascelles, Newcastle’s captain, is looking for the team to finish the season off strongly against second-placed Liverpool, who need to win to be certain of taking the Premier League title race into the final weekend of the season.
“We normally do finish off strongly,” said Lascelles, who missed last weekend's 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion through illness.
“Last season, we beat Chelsea 3-0. So we do normally finish off strong.
“They will obviously be playing for the title, so they’ll be flying. It won’t be like the Chelsea game, where I think they were done and they weren’t really playing well.
“But we’re going to make it tough – we are going to go for the win – and we want to keep going until the very last game of the season. We’re going to make it tough for them.
“They probably know that themselves. It’s not a nice fixture to come here, especially with our recent home form.”
Meanwhile, James Milner says Liverpool will be “ready to go” against United after their Champions League disappointment.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. Lionel Messi scored twice and former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez also found the net in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
Milner and his team-mates must now pick themselves up for their penultimate league game.
“We’ve obviously got to bounce back first for the weekend, pick ourselves up again after this disappointment,” said former Newcastle midfielder Milner.
“But I think we’ve all seen the heart in the dressing room before – and the drive, the team spirit. We’ll be ready to go at the weekend.
“Hopefully, we can get the result and get a bit of positive feeling going into the second leg.”
Liverpool had been unbeaten in 19 games going into the Barcelona game.
Reflecting on the defeat, Milner said: “I think, at this stage of the competition, the result is the only thing that matters really.
“Maybe we can take heart that we created chances in the game, and we should have probably taken a couple of those, but it didn’t happen, and they’re a top team who are always going to create chances, and they took them.”