Taylor demands repeat of flying start
Utility man Ryan Taylor is calling for another blistering start to help Newcastle sustain their place among the Barclays Premier League's top five.
The Magpies went unbeaten in 11 league games at the start of last season before future champions Manchester City inflicted their first defeat. This time around, Alan Pardew's men will also have the added demands of a Europa League campaign with which to contend, but Taylor is confident they can prosper once again.
He told Sky Sports News: "We had a really good start last season - I think we went 11 games unbeaten and lost to Manchester City, the winners of the league. We need to do the same again. We have got a tough start - Tottenham, Chelsea - and we have got to hit the ground running, and hopefully the likes of Papiss [Cisse] can still keep his goalscoring boots on."
Newcastle were last season's surprise package as they sustained their early form to mount a genuine challenge for Champions League qualification until the final few weeks.
Ultimately, they were more than happy to settle for fifth, but know the challenge of repeating that this time around will be a tough one with the teams both immediately above and below them also looking to improve their squads this summer.
Taylor is aware of that, but remains confident that he and his team-mates can make an impression once again.
He said: "I am sure a few teams will have better seasons, the likes of Aston Villa and Stoke. Stoke obviously played in Europe last season, a big distraction. They are always there and thereabouts, a big, strong team. We played Everton in the last game and they looked very strong, and if they get off to a good start, they can push on.
"We need a few more bodies to help us get through that European football, but I am sure the manager has got plans and we can kick on next season."
To date, only young midfielders Romain Amalfitano and Gael Bigirimana have arrived on Tyneside with Danny Guthrie, Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands, Fraser Forster and Alan Smith among those to have left the club.
They are yet to make decisive progress on their major targets with their interest in FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong long over and moves for his team-mate Douglas and Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy still pending.