FABRICIO Coloccini is looking to make up for lost time – and lead Newcastle to Premier League safety.
The Magpies’ captain returned from long-term injury at West Ham last weekend, helping Newcastle claim what could prove an important point.
United visit relegated QPR on Sunday knowing a win could be enough to secure survival after third-bottom Wigan – three points worse off – lost on Tuesday.
“We have confidence, and know that we have to think only of ourselves, not other teams,” said centre-back Coloccini.
“We are three points above the last place. We just have to do our job.
“Then we think about next season. Newcastle has to be in the Premier League.
“We are focused, and the team knows what we are fighting against. That’s very important.
“We have to think like that. We have to win both games, and not worry about Wigan or other teams. Just us. We are Newcastle United, and have to work on the pitch.”
QPR’s relegation was confirmed late last month, but Coloccini is wary of Harry Redknapp’s side in their final home top-flight match.
“It’ll be a very, very tough game,” added the 31-year-old. “They have nothing to play for, and we have everything to play for. It’ll be tough, but we know that we have to get points.
“We played well in the first half against West Ham. Now we have to play well for 90 minutes, not just 45 minutes like West Brom or other games. We have to finish very well.”
Meanwhile, Coloccini hit back at claims that he was ready to turn his back on the relegation battle.
The Argentinian asked to leave in January because of what were described at the time as “personal matters”, but agreed to stay on after talks.
He suffered a back injury in February, and there was speculation he would not return to Newcastle after he was given permission to recuperate with his family in Argentina.
But Coloccini says he was never going to walk away from the club after pledging to stay until the end of the season, when more discussions are planned amid interest from Argentinian club San Lorenzo.
“I’m very happy to be back,” Coloccini said. “I’ve never been injured or out for that long.
“I like to feel like a footballer, and it’s important to be back.
“I heard people said I wouldn’t play because I wanted to leave, and that I don’t give 100 per cent.
“I don’t like to speak to the Press too much, because I’m like that. But I try to speak on the pitch. I always give 100 per cent.”
For the moment, Coloccini insists he is not thinking about his future, with his focus firmly on the last two games of a troubled domestic season.
Coloccini – who missed the last two rounds of the club’s Europa League campaign, and the 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby defeat to Sunderland – admits the last few months have been tough.
“It’s difficult to watch and not play,” he added.
“Sometimes you want to help the team, or try to help others. It’s difficult to do that when you’re watching. It was very hard, especially games like Sunderland, where you want to be on the pitch.”