Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles knows there is no problem with team spirit on Tyneside.
And the central defender wants his team-mates to use that to drive a new positive mindset at the club this season.
The Magpies finished their last campaign strongly to finish in 12th place in the Premier League, despite battling against relegation for much of the winter.
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Lascelles, 27, missed the latter part of the season through injury but, along with Isaac Hayden and Callum Wilson, is now recovered and taking part in their pre-season training camp near York.
United are yet to make a signing in the summer transfer window and, while head coach Steve Bruce is looking to add some new faces to his squad before the season gets under way against West Ham on August 15, Lascelles insists they already have an excellent team spirit within the camp.
But as captain, he has urged his team-mates to adopt a positive mentality for the coming season in a bid to break into the top half of the table.
“It’s been nice, it’s important we spend time together,” he said of United’s training camp at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate.
“There’s a few new staff members and because of Covid and restrictions last year people didn’t really get to spend time with each other outside of football. It’s nice we’re able to do things outside of the training ground and game days.
“We’ve got a really good group of lads, every single one of them are fantastic. There are no cliques or different groups, the team are all one. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, we’re all together.
“This year we need a tougher mindset – pushing, pushing, pushing.
“In previous years you hear things about getting ton 36 or 38 points or whatever, but that can’t be the mindset now.
“We’ve been in the Premier League for four years now – we’ve done reasonably well and could have done better in a few of the seasons, but the mindset this season has to be pushing for higher than where we’ve finished before.”
United get their pre-season fixtures under way on Sunday (July 18) with two friendlies against York City and Harrogate, with Newcastle sending a different squad to each game
And while Lascelles will miss Newcastle fans who are unable to attend, he is looking forward to playing in some sort of atmosphere after the empty stands of last term.
“I know our fans can’t come, but one thing I’m really looking forward to is their fans being there,” he added in an interview with NUFCTV.
“Last year we played here with no fans, the year before was in China, which was a different type of atmosphere. In years before that you have that pre-season atmosphere so I’m looking forward to that in a smaller stadium.”
United also face Burton, Rotherham and Doncaster this month, before ending their pre-season preparations with a home friendly against Norwich City on Saturday, August 7.
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