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Nov 22, 2011

Ba: Top four finish unlikely for Magpies

Demba Ba has played down Newcastle's chances of finishing in the top four, despite their impressive start to the Premier League campaign.

• Pardew: Be ready to spend

The Magpies occupy fourth spot in the table after 12 games, with their sole defeat coming at the hands of leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

Alan Pardew's side have shocked many with their start to the season - especially given they were playing in the Championship 18 months ago - but Ba, who has scored eight goals in 11 Premier League appearances, is not surprised how well the team are doing this term.

"I think a lot of people are surprised about what we're doing," Ba told Sky Sports News. "When I signed here and saw the quality of the players we have, I'm not really surprised by how we're playing.

"That people are surprised I can understand because for Newcastle it is just the second year in the Premier League after the relegation but the team is very confident. I'm not really surprised with what we're doing. We're just happy being there, enjoying being there and just want to do everything to stay."

Should Newcastle continue their early season promise it will not be long before people begin to suggest they have the staying power needed to qualify for the Champions League. However, Ba says reaching Europe's elite club competition could be a step too far this season.

"I think it's going to be difficult [to qualify for the Champions League]," he said. "When you look at the other sides they have a lot of players of big quality and they have money to buy the players as well. We don't have the squad they have and don't have the experience they have.

"We have to try and win as many games as possible and see where we finish at the end. I think at the beginning of the season we thought if we finish in the first part of the table it would be a good season for us."

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