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Coloccini bullish over top-four chances

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini does not believe his side are "one-season wonders" and fully expects them to be competing for a top-four finish in the new season.

Newcastle were the surprise package of the 2011-12 campaign as Alan Pardew's men enjoyed impressive form that ultimately saw the Magpies finish fifth in the table, just four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

Argentine defender Coloccini, who signed on Tyneside from Deportivo for £10 million in 2008, is eagerly anticipating the 2012-13 season, and believes they can again defy their critics.

"I'm not interested what the critics think - we are no one-season wonders," he said in the Sun. "I accept the Premier League is becoming far more competitive and challenging at the top end of the table is becoming increasingly difficult.

"But we are confident that more success lies ahead. Newcastle are one of the biggest clubs in England and therefore we should be challenging for major honours.

"We don't feel under any more pressure because of what we achieved last season. If anything, we are relishing the season ahead. Our success has brought with it greater confidence and more determination to do better.

"Last season we more than demonstrated we are a side that can challenge the bigger teams. Up to the last day of the season we were challenging for Champions League football.

"It wasn't achieved by chance, either. Over the season we showed great consistency and our goal this season is to better that success.

"I don't expect things to change. The likes of Manchester City, Man United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and ourselves will be fighting for the four available Champions League places.

"I'd expect the club to strengthen the squad as well so, with some new players coming in and the current confidence that exists throughout the club, why shouldn't we be optimistic?"

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