SYLVAIN Marveaux believes Newcastle United can still be relegated this season – which is the reason why his side cannot afford to lose Sunday’s derby.
There were wild celebrations at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon when Papiss Cissé’s latest injury-time winner against Fulham took the club four short of the 40-point tally that would all but guarantee Premier League safety. Many Newcastle supporters believe that with six games still to play, the weekend’s dramatic victory means they can sleep easier, even with Sunderland due on Tyneside three days after Thursday’s do-or-die meeting with Benfica.
But Marveaux (pictured right) remains cautiously optimistic about how Newcastle’s season could end.
The French winger will feel a lot better once Sunday has come and gone and Newcastle have emerged with a victory.
Marveaux said: “I don’t think we’re safe yet. Obviously it was important to get the three points against Fulham because we have now a difficult game on Thursday and the most important game of all is then on Sunday.
“It was good to get a league win and to have more confidence to be able to play with less stress and pressure from now on, although we still have to win games.
“We know how important the derby is for the club, for the fans and the situation has meant there is even more importance on this game. When we play at home, we play to win, it doesn’t matter what team we play.
“But on Sunday it will be a game we cannot lose, for the club, for the fans and to be able to finish the season with less pressure.”
Sunday witnessed Cissé’s third stoppage-time winner in three home games, a remarkable record for the striker.
This new trend of leaving things to beyond the last minute won’t be doing Pardew’s heart much good, but it has had an incredibly positive effect on the
team’s Premier League standing over the past month. Marveaux said: “That was a massive goal and a massive win for us. We put everything we had into the game.
“I don’t know how Papiss does it. We would like him to score earlier in the game, but more important is to get the three points.
“Maybe it’s a sign of a good team that we can win games so late on. I think we deserved it on Sunday. The second half was better for us, we had more chances and hit the post. We were playing against a good technical team.
“We were a little bit anxious and not very confident on the ball in the first-half. But we were better in the second half, we were more confident. We took control of the game and created more chances.”
It’s an unusual week in many respects in that there is a European quarter-final to tackle before the derby match.
Marveaux said: “Thursday is a different game against different opposition. We have two goals to score. We can’t concede any. We just have to get ready because everyone is tired after the last two games.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to score quickly. It will be a different game.
“We will try to win, or course. We have the quality to beat them but they were a very good team when we played them away. I think they can score as well. We have to be solid.”