Hughton refusing to set targets

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Chris Hughton is not setting his relegation-threatened Newcastle side a points target because he knows the run-in could be a lottery.

The Magpies slumped to within a single point of the Barclays Premier League drop zone as a result of their 2-1 home defeat by Manchester United last Wednesday, and face a must-win trip to Hull at the weekend.

With Arsenal and Chelsea due at St James' Park in their next two home games, Hughton knows his side's plight could worsen and said: "It changes from week to week when everybody starts looking at the bottom few clubs and results they don't expect them to get, and they are getting those results."

He added: "I am not quite sure, but we are not really focusing so much on the points we feel we need to get, it's about looking after our business and getting as many points as we can."

Newcastle have won just one of their last 10 league games - a 3-2 victory at bottom side West Brom - and taken only six points in the process as a chaotic season has lurched towards the brink of disaster.

However, Hughton is convinced there are the battling qualities within the squad that they will need if they are to edge their way clear of the trapdoor as the campaign draws to a tense conclusion.

He said: "We have a group of lads here who are very aware of where we are at the moment, who are very aware of what the scrap will be, as will the numerous players at the numerous clubs who are in the same position as we are.

"We have just got to make sure we have enough battling qualities to get away from that group."

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West Bromwich Albion
Premier League
Newcastle United
Manchester United
Hull City

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