Mike Williamson

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Mike Williamson is ignoring any traditional pre-season cliches, as the centre-back looks to help United create a winning mentality as early as possible this summer.

The Magpies lost their opening friendly against German third division side Chemnitzer on Friday night, but have the opportunity to bounce straight back on Monday evening when they face Monaco at the Hacker-Pschoor-Arena, in Landsberg am Lech, Germany, (7pm kick-off local time).

And while some people will happily tell you that results in pre-season mean nothing, Williamson doesn't buy in to that theory, with the former Watford man telling nufc.co.uk this is a key period for players to lay down a marker.

"It's been enjoyable. The training has been tough but we've had a bit of rest time too," he explained.

"Our second game is tonight so hopefully we'll get a good run-out and the result as well.

"It's about physically and mentally getting up to scratch, but everyone wants to get into the winning mentality - that's the way we work.

"The gaffer wants us to breed that. We have to be looking to win every time we step out on the pitch, regardless of whether it's a friendly or a competitive fixture.

"Everyone is vying for places at the moment and trying to impress the manager - this is a big few weeks for the players."

Williamson, who has been with the Magpies since January 2010, also explained he will be using the Monaco fixture as preparation for this season's European fixtures.

Newcastle will initially compete in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League at the end of August, and Williamson believes testing himself against technical, foreign opponents can only be a good thing.

"There are few players in our squad - including myself - who have never experienced playing in a European fixture," said the defender.

"But these sort of friendlies, against the likes of Monaco and Fenerbahce, set you up nicely. You get to play a couple of different teams with a different style of play and that will stand us in good stead for the season ahead."

Follow tonight's friendly against Monaco right here on nufc.co.uk, where there will be a report, extensive reaction, photos and highlights. Stay logged on to nufc.co.uk throughout the night.