DARYL Janmaat is targeting a top-half Premier League finish with Newcastle United, with Manchester City next in the Magpies’ sights.
John Carver’s side, held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, remain 11th in the table, with a blank week to ponder the run-in, which continues with a trip to the defending champions next weekend.
Some fans fear the Magpies, who did not strengthen their squad in last month’s transfer window, will drift between now and the end of the season.
But full-back Janmaat, signed from Feyenoord last summer, has insisted there’s a determination in the dressing room to better last season’s 10th-placed finish.
Asked about a top-10 finish, the Holland international said: “We want that.
“We can get points from even the big games – I want that and so do the team.
“We have done well in the last few games under John Carver and it’s been nice to end that sequence of poor results against some difficult teams.”
Janmaat has already tasted victory against City this season, having helped the Tynesiders win 2-0 at the Etihad in the Capital One Cup in October.
“Now we go to City and we won there in the Cup, so let’s do it again,” said 25-year-old Janmaat.
“John is doing a good job – he is making everyone sharp. We like him as a coach. For him as a trainer, it is nice for him to get the results.
“He was around for the Manchester City game in the cup too, so he will remember how we did it. The players will, so we know that we can go and get a result there.
“We have shown we can lose to any team in the Premier League, but we have shown we can also defeat any Premier League team this year.
“It is a very strange year, so anything can happen.
“We just have to go there and try to return with a win to try to get us in the top ten.”
Janmaat created Papiss Cisse’s first-half goal against Palace with a superb, right-wing cross, but Fraizer Campbell claimed a point for Palace with a second-half equaliser.
“It was a difficult game, especially second half,” recalled Janmaat. “We were under pressure and I think we can be happy with a draw.
“I know we let the lead go for two games in a row, but this time I am happier with a point than on Sunday (against Stoke, also a 1-1 draw).
“This time, we were under pressure in the second half, and, if I am honest, I can live with a draw.
“We want to attack more, but the opposition were at home this time and it is a lot easier when you are the home team with the crowd behind them to push on. They pressed us back.”
On renewing acquaintances with Palace’s former Magpie boss Pardew, Janmaat added: “It was going to be strange.
“But we had to focus on the game and not the manager. We defended quite well. I can live with the draw.”