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Jones aiming to lead Magpies to "a better place" ahead of Chelsea visit

Graeme Jones says he is determined to lift Newcastle United to “a better place” during his spell in interim charge, as his side prepare for the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Magpies welcome last season's Champions League winners to St. James' Park still looking for a first victory of the season.

Jones' charges showed signs of improvement during last weekend's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace, which was the assistant head coach's first match in temporary charge of United.

Having revealed last week that he would also be in the dugout for the clash with Thomas Tuchel's men, Jones has his sights trained on an even better result against the Blues – and wants to leave a positive platform for whoever eventually takes permanent charge of the Magpies.

"I want Newcastle to be in a better place than we were when I took this interim role," he said.

"At the minute we are, because we've got one more point. I'd like to present the new manager with more points if I possibly can. Again, the test is going to be massive tomorrow, but anything is possible in football.

"I want him to come in to a united football club, and that means supporters, players and staff all pulling in the same direction, with good standards, ready to do what's required in the short term to help the new manager to get us out of this current situation."

Callum Wilson’s spectacular overhead kick earned Newcastle a valuable point at Palace last time out, and Jones believes the result at Selhurst Park provided a useful building block as they look to pull themselves out of the bottom three.

"We're certainly not getting carried away with a draw, but as I said after the game, it was a solid place to start," he said.

"We spent the early part of the week concentrating on Newcastle United and trying to better with what we're doing. Then, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we've concentrated on the build-up to Chelsea, on what their strengths and weaknesses are.

"I’m pleased we've got five days' work under our belts and hopefully we'll be better tomorrow than we were last week – and we'll need to be, with the Champions League winners coming to St. James'."

On what he would like to see from his players tomorrow, Jones added: "I'd like to see us being a little bit more sophisticated on the ball.

"We had a short period of putting the group and the team together last week, and it is not going to be easy against Chelsea – we know that. Without divulging every aspect of our game, that would be the first thing."

Despite all the changes at the club over the past month, Jones says he has been impressed with his squad's application on the training pitch as they look to put an end to what has been a testing start to the campaign.

And he also delivered some encouraging injury news, with a largely fully-fit group – including goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka, who is stepping up his return from injury – to choose from for the visit of Chelsea.

"I haven't got a complaint, sitting here. The work has been good, both tactically and technically, and the preparation, physically," he said. "We've had a good morning this morning in terms of the mental approach, so I'm really satisfied. I'm happy with what I've seen.

"We've got Paul Dummett still missing, and Elliot Anderson, but apart from that to my knowledge we have a fully fit squad to choose from. I'm happy with that."


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Graeme Jones' pre-Chelsea media briefing in full

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