CHRIS Hughton hailed his irresistible Newcastle United side for brushing aside Scunthorpe United last night – but warned they would be brought back down to earth with a bump if they take promotion for granted.
United took a giant leap towards the Premier League last night with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of a desperate Scunthorpe United, a sixth successive home victory that takes them to within just five wins of a top flight return.
It led to Hughton’s opposite number Nigel Adkins hailing Newcastle as a ‘Premier League team in waiting’ – talk that the United boss was desperate to resist.
“I didn’t even know it was five more wins,” he admitted.
“I think that the most important thing is we keep winning football matches. I was delighted with the application today – we’re a side playing very well at home at the moment.
“We need to take that confidence into every game. The only thing that can bring us back down to earth is that we’ve got two tough away games coming up.
“It’s a very healthy lead – it’s a wonder-ful position that we’ve worked hard to put ourselves into. We always knew that the most important gap was going to be between us and the third place team.
“I don’t see it being a problem with the playing staff we’ve got. I don’t see it being a difficulty bringing them back down to earth.
“It’s understandable that people outside the club will think that we’re promoted. But we won’t allow that.”
It was sweet revenge for United, who have bounced back brilliantly from their chastening 2-1 defeat at Glanford Park in October. Indeed Hughton’s men have lost just one league game in 23 since that loss in Lincolnshire – a record that has taken them to the brink of a memorable promotion.
“With the amount of chances we had we dominated possession,” Hughton said.
“Kevin Nolan’s goal was for some reason disallowed – we couldn’t see why that was. But when you have that number of chances it’s important that you make the most of them.”
It was also a night when the race to be United’s top scorer intensified, with Peter Lovenkrands and Andrew Carroll both racing on to 14 goals. Kevin Nolan is one behind, although he had a goal mystifyingly chalked off for offside.
“It’s a healthy battle,” he said. “The obvious one for me is it doesn’t matter who scores but I know it matters to them.
“If you’re someone whose scoring goals it’s important that you keep getting them and I’m delighted with them both.
“It was a great occasion for Scunthorpe United’s fans who probably will never see this as a league fixture again in their lifetime. It was fantastic for us.”