Upbeat United ready for Chelsea test – Guthrie - Shields Gazette

DANNY Guthrie says Newcastle United can make a statement by beating Chelsea.

Guthrie and his team-mates take on Andre Villas-Boas's side at a sold-out St James's Park on Saturday.

Fourth-placed United are a point ahead of Chelsea – who were dumped out of the Carling Cup by Liverpool last night – in the Premier League.

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While Guthrie, pictured, believes it's too early for Alan Pardew's players to be talking about European qualification, he believes a victory against them will make the rest of the country take notice.

Newcastle claimed a point from Manchester United in their last game.

And that result has given them the belief that they can embark on another long unbeaten run, having gone 11 league games without defeat up to their loss at leaders Manchester City earlier this month.

Asked about the chances of Newcastle qualifying for Europe, Guthrie told the Gazette: "It's too early for that.

"But if we win (against Chelsea), then people start raising eyebrows, but we just continue taking each game as it comes.

"As I say, we're there on merit. We've been brilliant this season, losing one league game, and our defensive record speaks for itself.

"That's the basis of what we're doing, so long may it continue.

"We've always been confident. We went to Man City, and they won't play any better than they did that day – they are in top form.

"If we'd had some luck in that game, we'd have snatched something there."

Pardew's side were expected to struggle in the wake of the summer departures of Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton.

Yet they've prospered, the team spirit forged under Chris Hughton in the wake of relegation still intact.

"We're there on merit – we're a good team, and people are starting to realise that now," said Guthrie, who has played the last five games in the absence through injury of Cheik Tiote.

"Chelsea now's huge for us. We have a good run of fixtures coming up, and we know where Chelsea are at the moment. We need to get at them."

Follow Gazette Newcastle United writer Miles Starforth on Twitter

30 Nov, 2011

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