RELEGATION was the worst experience of Jonas Gutierrez’s footballing career.
And the Newcastle United winger’s adamant that the lessons learnt that fateful season will ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.
Gutierrez’s first campaign at St James’s Park was forgettable, yet three and a half years later the club is back in the mire.
Anything but a win against Reading at St James’s Park tomorrow could see 16th-placed Newcastle back in the bottom three.
However, Gutierrez feels the experience of the 2008/09 campaign – his “worst moment in football” – will ensure there is no repeat this season.
“We have the experience of that moment,” Gutierrez said.
“We don’t have to think about the future, just the present. We have to take the three points.
“One of the mistakes we made the season we got relegated was that maybe we thought ‘next one, next one...’
“When you start thinking like that it’s not good – you have to think about the game you have.
“These three points are the most important.
“We have to take them, and be strong at St James’s Park.
“The good thing was the year after we came back to the Premier League.
“But of course it was my worst moment in football.
“That can happen in football. The good thing is when you’ve been in that situation, you have to take that experience, and not make the same mistakes.
“We can’t do the same wrong things. I don’t think we can be in the bottom three.
“We have to think about the next game, and taking the three points. It would give us a big lift.”
Gutierrez maintains the spirit forged in the wake of relegation – and which took the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt – remains intact.
“All the players have to help each other,” added the 29-year-old.
“If you have that type of group, you know you’re not going to be relegated
“I was in (Real) Mallorca before. Maybe in my first year there we didn’t have the quality that we have now here, but the group was really solid, and we fought for each other.
“That is the way to deal with this situation.
“We all have to be leaders. If somebody makes a mistake, we have to make sure we do the next one right.
“The confidence of all the players is going to be important.
“We have to help each other, and if we made a mistake, we have to do the next one better. That is the way to do it.”
Second-bottom Reading, however, are buoyant, having come from two goals down to beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 last weekend.
“We have to take the three points, but it’ll be difficult – they’re a good side,” said Gutierrez.
“They won last week. It’s going to be a tough game.”
Gutierrez returned from injury in last weekend’s goalless draw at Norwich City, the result ending a run of four successive defeats.
“I feel better now I have trained for more than a week,” he added.
“Everyone wants to play – it’s no good seeing the games on TV. I’m back and I’m feeling better. I try to do my best.
“I think last week was a good game. We got a point. We have to think of the next one – we have to take the three points.
“Now we have to focus on the game.”