JONAS Gutierrez says Newcastle United are ready for a grandstand finish to the season – at home and abroad.
Gutierrez and his team-mates take on Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday looking to take another step towards Premier League safety.
And that game is followed by the first leg of the club’s Europa League quarter-final against Portuguese side Benfica on April 4.
With so much at stake over the next few weeks, Gutierrez – who wasn’t called up by Argentina – was grateful for a rest during the international break.
An improving Newcastle, 13th in the league, will need to be at their best at the Etihad Stadium, where the club is yet to record a win.
“It’s been a good thing,” said Gutierrez.
“In the last few games we’ve had a lot of injuries. We want some of the squad back now.
“We’ve had a two-week break, which is good because we have a lot of important games coming up.
“What has been good is that we have been able to breathe easier because we have put some distance between us and the bottom places.
“It’s good to focus and be able to look up the table the other way.
“We hope that we can do the right thing and get the four or five wins we’d like and do well in the Europa League too.
“If we can go through in that – and finish in the top 10 – we’d be happy.”
United were beaten by relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic in their last league outing.
Gutierrez felt Newcastle should have taken at least a point home from the DW Stadium, where Callum McManaman escaped a red card for a reckless challenge on Massadio Haidara.
“All of the teams in the Premier League are difficult,” added the winger.
“We saw in the last game against Wigan. They were bottom three, but they played a great game.
“We deserved something out of it but we got beat. Maybe in the next game we’ll deserve to lose and take three points, that’s football.
“If we concentrate for 90 minutes, we should get something.”