Wijnaldum insists: Magpies are not in a relegation fight yet

Newcastle's Georginio Wijnaldum. Picture by Frank Reid
Newcastle's Georginio Wijnaldum. Picture by Frank Reid
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Georginio Wijnaldum does not believe Newcastle United are in a relegation battle – as “anything can happen”.

Wijnaldum won the Dutch league with PSV Eindhoven last season, and the midfielder has seemingly swapped a title defence and Champions League football for a relegation fight.

But Wijnaldum – who scored in last weekend’s much-needed 2-0 win over Liverpool – is not panicking.

“I don’t get it why people keep saying to me I am fighting against relegation,” said the 25-year-old, ahead of tomorrow’s tough trip to Tottenham (4pm kick-off).

“If we are still this low ranked on the table at the end of the season, then I will be doing that. But, at this moment in time, anything can happen.

“Take Leicester. They were at the bottom of the table around this time last season. They battled themselves out of the drop zone and look at them now – top of the league.”

Wijnaldum does not regret his summer move – despite the Tynesiders’ plight.

“Personally, I am doing OK, and I didn’t make the decision the join Newcastle overnight,” he said. “I put some real serious thought into it, so I knew what to expect.”

Wijnaldum says he and his team-mates were desperate to “make amends” for the defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City when they took on Liverpool last weekend.

“We really wanted to make amends,” he said.

“We still had the faith and had to respond adequately to the past results.

“Every match in the Premier League is a big task, but it takes a little bit extra to overcome two bad results by playing a good third one.

“Personally, I found it easy, because you know you have to work extra hard and have to react.”

Wijnaldum – who scored four goals in October’s 6-2 win over Norwich City – is wary of saying the Liverpool result will prove a “turning point” for the team. “I don’t want to talk about a turning point too soon,” he said. “That’s what we said after the Norwich match. We should know how to win now.”

Spurs midfielder Eric Dier is expected to shake off a knock and Harry Kane returns, but Mousa Dembele is a doubt (stomach bug).

Tottenham (from): Lloris, Vorm, Walker, Rose, Trippier, Davies, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Vertonghen, Carter-Vickers, Fazio, Winks, Dier, Alli, Carroll, Bentaleb, Dembele, Townsend, Eriksen, Onomah, Chadli, Son, Lamela, Njie, Kane.

Newcastle (from): Elliot, Darlow, Janmaat, Dummett, Coloccini, Mbemba, Mbabu, Sterry, Colback, Anita, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Thauvin, De Jong, Gouffran, Mitrovic, Cisse, Perez.