MIKE Williamson says Newcastle United still hope to finish above Southampton this season.
The Magpies were thrashed 4-0 by the Saints on Saturday, and the margin of defeat could have been significantly greater.
Southampton’s victory at St Mary’s lifted the Saints above Newcastle into eighth, but United still believe they can finish above Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The south coast outfit have drawn praise for their play this season, as well as their faith in youth.
The likes of Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers have helped to produce a youthful, vibrant side, who showed just how good they can be in their win over Newcastle.
England internationals Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez scored all of Southampton’s goals against the Magpies, who were simply blown away.
Williamson has been impressed with the Saints this term, but still believes the Magpies can recover from the loss on the south coast to finish above Southampton.
The defender said: “We’re almost neck-and-neck with Southampton, pushing for a higher finish.
“It’s going to be difficult, as they are a fantastic team with good individual players.
“We’ve got to brush ourselves down and go again.”
Williamson and his team-mates take on another team in a similar position on Saturday when they host Manchester United.
David Moyes’s side have endured a torrid league campaign, and a victory for the Magpies at St James’s Park would move them to within five points of the seventh-placed side.
Williamson is again expected to line up in defence for Newcastle against the Premier League champions, as he did in the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in December.
He will now be looking to help the Magpies to a first league double over Man United since the 1930-31 season.