Rafa Benitez has been speaking ahead of Saturday’s match.
The manager very happy with a full points return from November, nine from nine, but reminding everybody just how pivotal December could be.
After a period of only eight games in 85 days before the win over Burnley, Newcastle now face seven matches in only 29 days.
By the end of that period it will be 20 games played and only 18 remaining, this crazy festive period often changing the whole course of many a club’s season.
For Rafa Benitez it is simply wanting more of the same at the minute, the last three and a half hours have produced five goals and three wins, whilst the first 16 hours of the season had brought only six goals and three points.
In every shopping window Rafa says he wants to bring in a left-back and this time he is getting in early, saying that he would like a few new players but specifically naming the left-back position.
The NUFC boss stating that both he AND Paul Dummett would like an attacking left-back to be bought in, both to give competition and an alternative in some games to Dummett’s solid defending but limited attacking play.
Rafa Benitez speaking at his pre-West Ham press conference:
“Paul Dummett is very close but not enough for this game.
“The others – Lejeune, Sterry, Lascelles, Shelvey, Mutō – have all been training at least once.
“I have to decide the squad because I have almost everybody available.
“It’s always important to win but to win games in a row is even better.
“Now what we have to do is carry on.
“We have some pace but it’s still a long distance race.
“You have a lot of games (seven) in December, this month is a big test for us, a difficult month but I hope it will be a good one.”
On Ki Sung-yeung:
“We knew about his composure on the ball.
“He can manage the game and the tempo of the game on the ball.
“Coming back (from the World Cup), players need more time.
“The good thing is he knew the Premier League and some of his teammates.”
On Fabian Schar:
“He was not playing and to show his level was not easy.
“It was a difficult time for the team and he (came in and) did really well.
“We knew about his quality on the ball but players need time to settle down in England.
“He is doing really well now.”
“West Ham spent £100m or whatever and have the players who can make the difference.
“We have to show the same intensity we have shown recently.
“They (West Ham) did well in some games and not so well in others.
“They have some very good players who can make the difference on their own – you don’t see them for 80 minutes and in one minute they change the game.
“We have to be sure that everyone is aware of that.”
Transfer window targets?:
“Everyone can see we need another left-back because we only have one.
“Paul Dummett knows it too and he is happy about it because he wants competition from an attacking player (option at left-back).
“We need a couple of other positions too but we will see…”