The quality level at St.James’ Park has been raised in recent times with the arrival of players such as Cabaye, Ba and Cissé.

Even so, overall you probably have to accept that player for player Newcastle don’t have the ability in their squad as a whole, in terms of exceeding all of  Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Does this mean it is impossible for Newcastle to finish fourth? The answer to me is clearly it is not impossible and Demba Ba has summed it up nicely here;

“I didn’t think it (the season) would be as successful as it has been. You always work to be one of the best and that is what I am doing here – it is what I will continue to do.

Other teams are working to be the best too and maybe they have a bit more quality than us but we’re doing very well. This season is ours – we just need to enjoy it”.

The secret of this season’s relative success isn’t just because we have some very good players, to me it is down to the commitment that they and the lesser lights have put in.

Players such as Coloccini, Ba, Tiote, Cabaye, Steven Taylor and Tim Krul haven’t just got talent, all six of them present to me a work ethic and commitment that many of our previous ‘stars’ just didn’t have. We’ve watched a lot of rubbish but also seen players who in black & white who clearly weren’t rubbish but who just didn’t have the application.

I know it is early days but Papiss Cissé seems to share our other stars’ commitment, whilst also clearly having the ability to score goals and lots of them.

Every place that Newcastle United may finish higher than seventh would represent a massive effort from all of our players; quality of effort as well as that of ability can take you a long way.