Jonjo Shelvey insists that Newcastle United’s players are NOT “feeling sorry for themselves” in the wake of relegation.
Instead, the midfielder says the squad is determined to right the wrongs of last season.
Rafa Benitez’s side will take on Phil Brown’s Southend United at Roots Hall tonight in their penultimate pre-season friendly (7.45pm).
Shelvey, signed from Swansea for £12million in January, says the mood is upbeat as the start of the Championship campaign on August 5 edges closer.
“I don’t think you can feel sorry yourself, and this certainly doesn’t feel like a club that’s feeling sorry for itself because of what happened,” said Shelvey, who scored in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Sporting Lokeren.
“We obviously deserved to go down because we weren’t good enough last year.
“It is what it is, and we are where we are, but it’s down to us now to put things right.
“We’ve brought in some tremendous signings.
“It’s obviously another big plus with the manager staying. He’ll be giving it his best shot to try to get us out of the Championship.
“It’s down to us now to repay the fans for sticking by us.”
Meanwhile, Southend boss Phil Brown feels Newcastle are already well-equipped for the Championship – and he believes they will be even better prepared by the time they leave Roots Hall.
Magpie boss Rafa Benitez – whose side drew 2-2 with League Two Doncaster Rovers last week – deliberately chose low-key warm-up fixtures in the belief they would better prepare the team for English football’s second tier.
And South Shields-born Brown said: “He’s done it the right way.
“A club like Newcastle could go on a glamorous tour and make a lot of money, but playing ourselves and Doncaster will be a good experience.
“There should be a good crowd, and it’ll be good preparation for some of the less glamorous Championship games. Every club in the Championship will want to play Newcastle.
“They’ve got to be in the right mindset for these games.
“And we want teams that will cause us problems and keep possession against us. It’ll probably be our toughest game.
“I look at the team they put out at Doncaster, and they’ve got a very good squad. They’ve got 24 players, and every one can play Championship football.
“I imagine Newcastle will have plenty of possession, but as we saw at the Euros, possession doesn’t always win you football matches.”
United have already signed six players this summer.
Brown said: “They’ve got players who have a point to prove.”