Cottagers Confidential: So, you're going up. What was your impression of the Championship?
Coming Home Newcastle: I wouldn’t say that just yet. While I have a good feeling we will get promoted, I get superstitious.
I felt like the Championship really made Newcastle work hard and change their attitude. And I think Benitez learned a lot as well. When it comes to squad choice, tactics, rotation, Benitez didn’t just stick to what he knew as a manager, I think he grew as well. The Championship was a fantastic learning experience.
CC: Why couldn't you have done Fulham a solid and taken care of Reading? Any chance you guys take it easy on Fulham, we could certainly use a win? In all seriousness, you've lost one less game than Fulham, what if anything has been different about those games?
CHN: Newcastle had a tough schedule before Reading, and I don’t like giving the club excuses. I think that the club really played well against Reading, but it wasn’t a top performance. Sadly, I think they saved it for Fulham, haha!
The difference between Newcastle and Fulham is in the draws. Newcastle United has been consistently winning games. I think just the smallest mistake in those draws for Fulham would mean you’d be up at the top of the table with us.
CC: Fulham and Newcastle have the two best attacks in the division. Is there any reason to think there won't be goals in this one?
CHN: This is tough. Newcastle has a tendency to score a lot of goals, and then score nothing in one or two straight. But, I think we got that out of our system at Reading. I would expect some goals, and if either of our defenses makes a mistake, you can expect more than one. The attacks know how to take advantage of mistakes.
CC: Predicted lineup and score?
I’ve never been good at predicting lineups. From our writer Nicky Topping:
Darlow, Clark, Dummett, Gámez, Lascelles, Atsu, Diamé, Ritchie, Shelvey, Pérez, Gayle
And due to my bias, I do think that Newcastle United will win 1-2. And will take this a step further and say that Fulham’s Kebano will score first, and Diame and Ritchie will both score.