Jose Enrique has branded Newcastle United’s current form “painful” and says the club should be fighting for a “top six” place, talking to the Daily Mail.
Enrique was part of the Magpies flock for four years and played more than 100 games for the Toon before joining Liverpool.
Since his retirement in 2017, the Spaniard has kept a close on eye on his former clubs and isn’t best pleased by Newcastle’s progress.
“Every single year is painful really,” Enrique admitted.
“They have a massive fanbase, the stadium is beautiful. I loved it there to play at St James’ Park and the fans make it so nice. Even when we got relegated we had 42,000 every single week at home.”
Enrique: ‘Every single season’
The former left-back thinks Newcastle fans deserve better.
He said: “It’s a club I believe deserve to be in the top six for the fanbase and the type of team it is.
“At least try to fight for the fifth and sixth positions, seventh and eighth. That should be the target for Newcastle every single season.
“The results are not great, the team is not playing well either. It’s sad to see this to be honest. I have been relegated myself and I know how painful it is for the fans.
“The Championship is not easy at all. It is a tough league so you don’t want to go down that road.”
Newcastle – almost ten years since a high five
It has been almost a decade since Newcastle managed higher than a tenth-place finish. Alan Pardew’s side finished fifth in 2011/12 but slumped to 16th the following campaign.
Steve Bruce secured 13th place for Newcastle in his first term in charge but the side currently sits 16th in the table and has just two wins from the last 14 fixtures in all competitions.
Admittedly both victories arrived this month, which has given Bruce a breather.
Newcastle fans were much more enamoured with Bruce’s predecessor, Rafa Benitez. Although the Spaniard achieved the exact same finish as Bruce in his farewell season.
And Enrique feels there isn’t much competition when it comes to who is the better manager.
He said: “I believe Steve Bruce is a really good manager but, when you have Rafa Benitez before, you are talking about a manager who won titles and Champions Leagues.
“Rafa wanted more control and I believe he deserved that control – but that wasn’t there with Mike Ashley.”
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