Emre eyes Champions League

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Newcastle's Turkish schemer Emre Belozoglu insists that UEFA Champions League qualification is not beyond The Magpies this season.

Graeme Souness's side started the season in insipid form but, welcoming back a raft of key players, their form has improved in recent weeks and they are in touch with The Premiership's top six.

Michael Owen's return to fitness has handed The Magpies a further boost and his four goals in six Premiership games have helped create a renewed mood of hope around St James' Park.

Now, after a career playing at the top level in Europe with both Galatasaray and Internazionale, Emre is determined to see his current employers regain their place in the European elite for the first time since the 2002/03 season.

"If we can win five or six games we can get into the Champions League places as one of the top three teams in The Premiership," said Emre.

"I have played Champions League football every season for the last eight years so this is the first time I have not been in it.

"But that is no problem, we will be there next year.

"For our players it is important and for the club it is important. Every big club should play in the Champions League."

Emre has established himself as a firm favourite for the Magpies faithful after some influential displays in the black and white, and the Turkish international has been equally impressed with the club's support since arriving on Tyneside.

Insisting that Newcastle had the potential to rival Premiership challengers Chelsea and Manchester United, Emre enthused over the electric atmosphere at St James' Park.

"Newcastle is a big club with big support and big players, it is the same as Inter and the same as Galatasaray," Emre continued.

"And this club has the potential to be like Chelsea and like Manchester United.

"I have never seen anything like the atmosphere at St James' Park.

"I have played for big crowds at Galatasaray and in front of 80,000 people at the San Siro but I have not known the noise like at St James'.

"This is a big club, a famous club and a very good club."