FABRICIO Coloccini says Newcastle United are ending the year in rude health – despite a dip in form.
Alan Pardew’s side were without a win in six games going into this afternoon’s visit to Bolton Wanderers.
But Coloccini insists the progress made on the field over the past 12 months has been remarkable.
Newcastle are seventh in the Premier League and still in touch with the top six.
And Coloccini, the club’s inspirational captain, is enjoying his football more than ever, such is the brand of football that is evolving under Pardew, who hopes to tie up at least one signing – and persuade Coloccini to sign a new contract – next month.
Newcastle had to battle to stay up last season – their first back in the top-flight – but this season Pardew has attempted to bring a more expansive game to the Sports Direct Arena.
“This is a different Newcastle United,” said Coloccini. “A big difference from last season.
“The manager’s changed the approach. He wants to play good football. Maybe he wants to entertain the fans a bit more than last year. He wants them to enjoy watching their team.
“That’s good and we are enjoying it on the pitch, too. For me personally, I enjoy playing this way.
“Maybe the big difference is this team can do both sides of the game.
“We know when we have to play directly and when we can play good football and pass the ball around. It’s very important to know this.
“Sometimes, if there’s a passing team in front of you, you can also play that way, but sometimes you have to be direct and long ball – this team can do both.”
The Bolton game is followed by tough fixtures away to Liverpool and at home to Manchester United and Coloccini knows the next few weeks, on and off the pitch, will have a significant bearing on where the club finishes in the league.
Coloccini added: “Christmas is important. We want to try and take as many points as we can.
“Bolton’s an important game – we need as many points as we can over this time. We need to be winning games.”