Andy Carroll

By Dan King

United's nine-goal number nine Andy Carroll believes the team spirit formed at St. James' Park last season has continued to serve The Magpies well in their first season back in the top flight.

Chris Hughton's side stand ninth in the table with some memorable results already, including wins over Sunderland and Arsenal and Sunday's draw with champions Chelsea.

Carroll's form has been a key part of that - he's the joint second-top scorer in the league - but the striker believes the bond between the players has been the main reason behind the club's impressive start to the campaign.

"With the team around me and with the lads that we've got here, we've just bonded and we know how each other play the game," said the striker, who scored United's opener last weekend.

"We formed a bond last season and we learned a lot about each other and we've kept that going in the Premier League."

Speaking to the club's official matchday programme, Carroll admitted that he was pleased with his performances in his first full season in the Barclays Premier League. But by his own admission, he owes much to his team-mates and manager.

"I feel like I've been playing well," he said, "and I'm scoring a few goals as well as creating a few, so I'm happy with my form at the moment. But it's all about the players around me.

"They're the ones that are creating the chances for me and they are the ones that are helping me this season. Everyone is in it together at Newcastle and the lads have been fantastic.

"Chris Hughton has also been unbelievable about everything that's happened over the last year or so," he added.

"I've had some tough times, but he's stuck by me along with everyone else at the club.

"He pulls me in now and again for a bit of a chat and he's really helped me a lot. He's been great with me.

"It's been crazy over the last season and a bit," he added. "A lot has happened in a short space of time and when you look back, everything has fallen into place for me really.

"But it's not like I've changed my game at all since we got back up into the Premier League. I'm the same player, but with the Championship being my first real season, I was playing week-in, week-out and that really helped."