JONÁS Gutiérrez insists Champions League talk is premature and potentially dangerous to Newcastle United’s season.
An uplifting weekend win combined with favourable results elsewhere means United have narrowed the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea down to just a single point ahead of Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.
It is form that is convincing the doubters and even prompted Sky’s lead pundit Gary Neville to include Newcastle in the battle for fourth, alongside Arsenal, Liverpool and Andre Villas Boas’ flat-lining Blues.
It is some achievement at this stage of the season but Gutiérrez is urging caution. Although aware of the momentum building around Newcastle’s tilt for Europe he insists dressing room talk is not dominated by the battle to break into the Champions League places, with the Tottenham game at the top of everyone’s agenda.
“We are not thinking about (the Champions League). We are just thinking about the next game,” he said.
“We are in a good position, but I think the team and all of the players, we don't think about what the fans and the press are saying. We are trying to focus on the games that we have left.
“That is what has brought us success so far and that is what we must continue to do. We know we are having a great season but we have to focus game-by-game and that means no thinking ahead of ourselves.
“We are thinking about Tottenham only – no one and nothing else.”
Saturday evening’s game promises to be a stern examination of the club’s European credentials – along with a daunting task to boot.
Spurs have lost just once at White Hart Lane all season, and that was in their early-season clash with a rampant Manchester City. Nine wins and two draws since are why they are in pole position to clinch a Champions League place and still an outside bet to join the Premier League title race.