Vurnon Anita insists in-form Newcastle United are “fearless” as they head into a Christmas programme full of opportunity.
The United midfielder will be asked to shoulder more of the midfield burden with Cheick Tiote suspended for Stoke City, but he believes that the team have a fierce enough work ethic to see them through.
And he believes that the next five games – United are at home for four of them – have the potential to define Newcastle’s ambitions this season.
He said: “We will go into these games with no fear, but we must take it one at a time.
“Stoke is first on Boxing Day and we must prepare properly for that. It will be like the Palace game and it will be tough but we must be prepared to battle and work hard.
“If we do that then we can play our game and then win the game.
“This is a time that could shape our season.
“We have a lot of games coming up, but we must take it one game at a time a see what happens against Stoke.
“Our focus is on that and then Arsenal, but first we must look to Thursday’s game and try to get another win.”
United’s excellent winter form has given them an opportunity to shoot for Europe again in the New Year but Anita does not want to get “carried away”.
“We know where we are in the table, but we must work hard every week and keep our focus on each game that comes. We have to take it game by game,” he said.
“We can’t let ourselves get too excited, but if we win our games then we will see where we finish.”
Anita has enjoyed a successful second half of 2013, establishing himself in the starting XI while also adapting to the rough and tumble of the English game.
He said: “I am happy to be in the team. To be part of this team is a very good feeling at the moment.
“We will see if I start the next game but I hope I can keep my place and continue to do well. Of course it’s up to the coach.
“He will decide, but if I play I am ready to help us achieve our goals.”