Why Rob Elliot disagrees with Newcastle’s critics

Kenedy celebrates scoring for Newcastle against Southampton.
Kenedy celebrates scoring for Newcastle against Southampton.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot says he has always disagreed with claims that they didn’t have a Premier League quality squad.

The Magpies have given themselves a huge chance of avoiding relegation back into the Championship with back to back home wins over Manchester United and Southampton.

Newcastle sit five points clear of the drop zone after their 3-0 win over the Saints at St James’s Park last Saturday, and head to Spain for a mid-season break in good spirits.

Elliot believes the young squad is growing into the season under manager Rafa Benitez, and is hopeful of a strong end to the campaign which will see the club stay up.

He said: “I think there’s been a lot made about the squad not being a Premier League squad, but I completely disagree.

“There’s strength in depth and they have proven time and time again they are good enough, not forgetting this is the first half of a season back in the Premier League.

“The players have got a lot to prove. They are a young squad, but, all in all, it’s very positive and hopefully we can have a strong end to the season.”

The Magpies came flying out of the blocks against Southampton, scoring just over a minute into the game through Kenedy to set them on the way to three vital points in the bid to beat the drop.

Elliot wasn’t in the squad, but watched on as the Toon Army responded to the early goal by creating a vibrant feel around St James’s.

“It lifted the whole place, not just the three points but the way we played, and the atmosphere around the ground was fantastic,” he told Sky Sports.

“Just to see the place bouncing, especially after the early goal, was great. Hopefully there’s more to come.

“We have always believed we are good enough to stay up and we still do, but when you start getting results and performances like that, and see yourself further up the table, it helps.

“Hopefully we can keep pushing from there.”