James Perch

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Getting points on the board was the priority for James Perch after seeing several clubs suffer heavy defeats on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League season.

Liverpool were beaten by West Bromwich Albion on Saturday while Swansea and Fulham both racked up five goals against QPR and Norwich respectively before Newcastle stepped out to take on Tottenham at 5.30pm.

And although nothing is decided on the first day of the campaign, Perch believes that avoiding defeat was important - and picking up three points is even better.

Last season, Newcastle flew out of the traps to go unbeaten in their opening 11 league games - a run which undoubtedly provided a platform for the Magpies to finish fifth at the end of the term.

And, after Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa struck to give United a 2-1 win over Spurs in Andre Villas-Boas' first game in charge of the visitors, Perch told nufc.co.uk: "It was massive.

"When we were in the dressing room watching the results come in from the three o'clock games, there were people getting beat 4-0, 5-0, 3-0 - and I'm thinking 'it's opening day syndrome, people not doing the right things and getting beat heavily.'

"And that's what we made sure we didn't do. We made sure we stuck to what we know and got three points that we knew we could get."

Perch came in for the injured Fabricio Coloccini and, as he did so many times last season, slotted in seamlessly.

In fact the skipper's absence was barely noticeable, so sure-footed was the ex-Nottingham Forest man's display alongside Steven Taylor, playing his first top flight game since suffering an Achilles injury last December.

"The fact that we won the game and the fact they didn't have to many shots on target, I'd like to think that the back four - or back five - did our job," he said.

"They're a great team and when we were attacking, that's probably when we were at our most vulnerable because on the counter-attack they're so fast. They've got players like (Aaron) Lennon and (Gareth) Bale and (Jermaine) Defoe up top - they've got pace and that's what frightens defenders.

"To say that they'd hit the bar and the post, you'd probably have to give it to them in the first half but we came in at half-time, changed our system a little bit and we got our rewards.

"We put an extra man in midfield and Hatem got a bit more space and he came into it more often, I'd say. Demba got a great finish to give us the lead and that's what we needed, really; we needed to take the lead because we knew if we did that, they'd find it hard to score a goal.

"Luckily for them, they did but Hatem's bit of magic got us a penalty and he stuck it home."

Saturday's game was a sell-out at the Sports Direct Arena. The only way to guarantee your seat for every home Premier League game this campaign is to buy a season ticket - click here