Joey Barton has told BBC's Match of the Day 3 that the best Newcastle can hope for is safety before May, even after beating Liverpool 2-0.
The Magpies recorded just their third win of the season on Sunday, beating Liverpool 2-0 at St. James' Park thanks to an own goal from Martin Skrtel and a late strike from Georginio Wijnaldum.
The result means Newcastle have moved up to 18th place in the Premier League table, and are edging closer to getting out of the relegation zone.
Fans haven't had much to shout about this season, but the performance against Liverpool suggested that there may be bright times on the horizon for Steve McClaren's men.
After the game, Joey Barton - who made 84 appearances for Newcastle as a player - had his say on the club's fortunes this season.
Speaking on BBC's Match of the Day 3, Barton was asked what the best Newcastle can hope for this season is - and he claims that avoiding final day drama would be an improvement for the Magpies, having only narrowly stayed up on the final day of the season last term.
"I think, after last season where they stayed up on the last day of the season, to be safe before they get to May would be a significant improvement," said Barton.
The demanding Newcastle fanbase won't be too happy if it does end up that the Magpies can only settle for survival, but this is a long-term recovery under McClaren, and it looks like being a very gradual improvement on Tyneside.