Newcastle United star makes ‘top team’ claim following £125m transfer decision
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Newcastle’s squad has been bolstered by the additions of Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento for a total transfer fee of £125million while Allan Saint-Maximin is the only major summer departure.
And with The Magpies preparing to compete in the Champions League for the first time in over 20 years, confidence is high. Newcastle lost just five league matches last season, the joint lowest in the division and opened the new campaign with a 5-1 win over Aston Villa after an unbeaten pre-season campaign.
Botman joined Newcastle from Lille for £35million last summer and has quickly established himself as one of the top young defenders in the Premier League.
After surpassing expectations last season, Botman is hoping to help the side push on this campaign.
“We have the squad of a top team,” said the 23-year-old. “We want to reach the top and every top team has competition and it’s good to push each other to the best level and that’s how we get better.
“It’s football so everybody wants to win but we’re a good team and have a strong connection together. Everybody is pushing each other to do the best for themselves.
“Our team is stronger than last season but it’s important that we stick together and work hard as always. With this quality we have to push again and be better than last season. It’s the expectation of ourselves, not just the fans or the media.
“Last season we had high expectations of ourselves as well and this season is no different.”
It’s just over a month until Newcastle will get their Champions League group stage under way on September 19 or 20. The group stage draw will take place on August 31.
“We play in the Champions League this season,” Botman added. “Last season went really well so we have to set our limits and push ourselves to be better than last season. It won’t be easy but that’s what we have to aim for.”