Rafael Benitez has warned Newcastle they will need brains as well as heart if they are to beat Chelsea on Tyneside for a second successive season.
A 3-0 win over the Blues in May cemented a 10th-place finish for the Magpies on their return to the Premier League and sent Benitez, his players and the fans off on their holidays wearing broad smiles.
Three months on, storm clouds have gathered over St James’ Park once again with the manager’s plans to take the club forward having prompted a distinctly lukewarm response from the club’s hierarchy, resulting in a lacklustre recruitment drive which has angered supporters.
By contrast, Chelsea spent almost £130million on just two players, keeper Kepa and midfielder Jorginho, and Benitez knows that will make a repeat of last season’s heroics all the more difficult.
He said: “We are talking about the Premier League now and the difference between teams now is so big. They are spending a lot of the money on bringing in the best players in the world, so it’s quite difficult to keep this intensity.
“Last weekend, you could see teams with great intensity still conceding a lot of goals. Why? Because the quality of the other teams is really, really good now.
“You have to find the balance and the balance means that you have to try to win, but you have to try to win using the brain, not just the heart.”