Enrique hails Hughton impact
Newcastle defender Jose Enrique has hailed Chris Hughton as the best manager he has worked under.
Last Updated: 31/03/10 9:58am
Newcastle defender Jose Enrique has hailed Chris Hughton as the best manager he has worked under at St James' Park.
The talented full-back joined the Magpies from Villarreal in a £6.5million deal in the summer of 2007 and has witnessed five different bosses take the helm in that spell.
Enrique, who was signed by Sam Allardyce, has seen Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer and Hughton step through the seemingly revolving door to the Newcastle manager's office.
After a period of stability, the North East outfit are on the brink of a return to the Premier League and their promotion could be confirmed on Saturday if they triumph away to Peterborough and Nottingham Forest lose on their travels at Bristol City.
"A lot of credit must go to Chris Hughton, who had a long career as a coach but has now proved what a good manager he is," Enrique said.
"I worked under Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer, but Chris is the best. The others are famous names, but it is not always about that.
"Of course, no-one really knows what kind of manager Shearer will be because he was only here for seven weeks and it is unfair to judge over that short period.
"Chris has had one season and grown into the job. People who say he will not be as good a manager in the Premier League are being unfair.
"The club want him to stay, he is keen to stay and certainly the players want to work with Chris next season.
"Everyone was so happy when he was given the manager's job on a permanent basis because it was so well deserved and he is the man to take this club forward."
Enrique scored his first-ever professional goal on Monday night as the Magpies triumphed 2-0 over Forest at St James' park to move 13 points clear of their third-placed rivals with six games remaining.
And the 24-year-old is confident he will have a much more significant impact on the top-flight having overcome the injury problems which hampered his previous stint.
The Spaniard said: "The Premier League will see a very different Jose Enrique to the one I was when we went down. But it is not just me but the whole team because we are all better now.
"We are a very good Championship team. We work hard and are together and we can do well in the Premier League, too. We know that in the Premier League it is a different level and a bigger challenge.
"But for me, this is the first season I have played with only a few injuries. And it is the first time I have been able to play regularly with Jonas Gutierrez and that has helped, too.
"Of course, we need new players, but that is normal for any side going up. It is good to have a big squad, but I know we already have a team of top players."