The Toon are away to Everton at Goodison Park and the Frenchman feels that playing, and beating, in-form teams like the Toffees is important for them to continue improving as they strive to be a top club in England.
"Everton are very strong and it is teams like them who have started the season well, who will make it even harder for us," he said.
"They are like us. They have some good players and play with a team mentality and are a strong unit.
"We will have to be stronger mentally. We surprised people last season when we finished fifth and this year is different.
"Every team knows what we can do on the pitch and we are a target.
"The right mentality is very important for us and we have that in the dressing room. The spirit is just as strong as it was last season."