Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce marked his one-year anniversary at the club by insisting it is wrong to even consider settling for mid-table respectability.
The club are well clear of relegation trouble in 13th place and while Bruce has set his sights on being top of the bottom half after their final two matches he believes that should provide a platform for greater achievement.
A takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund is still awaiting approval from the Premier League but regardless of that outcome Bruce, who celebrated 12 months at St James’ Park on Friday, insists they should be aiming higher.
“There is obviously room for improvement, and we are never going to be satisfied with being mid-table, that would be wrong,” said the Magpies boss, who inherited a side which had finished 13th with 45 points – only two better than their current tally.
“I was under no illusions how difficult it was going to be. I knew there would be storms and waves here.
“But to not be involved in it (relegation) over the last four of five games – when you look at the quality of Watford and West Ham and the £150million Aston Villa spent – you think ‘Wow, I am absolutely delighted not to be involved with that lot’.
“There have have been some tough times but overall when I see the teams who are below us fighting for their lives and the teams we can still catch I believe we have done okay.
“It is important we can to finish off – we knew it would be a difficult finish but we are nearly coming towards the end of it.
“I was delighted how we played against Spurs (a 3-1 defeat on Wednesday), I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The same again would be great.
“My role now is to try to keep moving the club forward and we will see where that takes us.
“There’s a big summer ahead of us.”
Newcastle head to Brighton, who are also safe, on Monday.
Bruce had been impressed by how Seagulls boss Graham Potter has succeeded in changing the philosophy so quickly while still keeping them in the division after replacing Chris Hughton.
“It is fascinating to watch. Graham has come in from Chris, who did a wonderful job over the years, with the different approach and style,” he said.
“They have gone down a route where they have totally changed their whole philosophy and practically changed from day one.
“From afar, you know for Brighton to stay in the division is first and foremost.
“They have done okay so they will be difficult opponents and he has certainly changed the whole philosophy of the whole club.”