Wijnaldum says Newcastle United’s turnaround will count for nothing – unless they beat Aston Villa

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum says Newcastle United’s upturn in fortunes will count for nothing – unless they beat Aston Villa.

The club climbed out of the Premier League’s relegation zone last weekend thanks to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

And the Rafa Benitez’s side, having taken eight points from its last four games, can take another stride towards safety by winning their penultimate match of the season at Villa Park on Saturday.

Sam Allardyce’s 18th-placed Sunderland team, however, have a game on Newcastle.

And Wijnaldum, recalled to the starting XI for the Palace game, is mindful that United are potentially just one bad result away from relegation.

“We have got ourselves back into a better situation,” said the midfielder.

“Every game is important to us. Every point we can take is crucial at this stage.

“We have beaten Crystal Palace, and now we have to show the same mentality at Aston Villa.

“When we win, it’s always good. It was not easy, because they brought on substitutes – they started playing more long balls – but we did it.”

Newcastle, under Benitez, have seemingly found some momentum at the right time.

But Wijnaldum is not getting carried away.

The 25-year-old said: “I don’t want to say that (about momentum) because we had a few good games.

“We had a spell where had three good games and got seven points earlier in the season. After that, we lost to Everton and West Brom.

“We have to focus game by game and at the end we will see where we finish. We can’t be too happy because it is about the end of the season.”

The mood in the dressing room, however, has improved in recent weeks.

“We were happy, as always when you win,” said Wijnaldum. “Now every game we fight to win games. If we fight and win games, then it is satisfying.

“Before we have fought until the end in games and we have been unlucky.

“Now, even if we are not always playing good, the team spirit is good and we are happier than normal.

“We are not too happy, though. The most important thing is that we are happy at the end of the season, not now.

“This feels nice, we work hard to win games, but we will see at the end of the season how happy we are.”