By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
After Sunday's 1-0 win over Norwich, Newcastle are only one point behind their tally at this stage last season when they went on to finish fifth and John Carver insists he's pleased with United's start to the current campaign.
And that means Newcastle have two wins, two draws and just one defeat in the Barclays Premier League, having qualified for the Europa League group stages over two legs against Atromitos and got their first point on the board in that competition after last Thursday's 0-0 draw against Maritimo.
"With the programme that we've had, I think it's been a great start," he told nufc.co.uk. "I don't think the performances have been as good as they were last year but the results have been.
"We're travelling in Europe and with the tough fixtures we've had at the start of the season, I think everybody's quite happy.
"These points were very important and I think it told a little bit. There was a bit of pressure on and with all due respect to Norwich, everyone expected we were going to beat Norwich like everyone expected us to beat Aston Villa a fortnight ago, when we didn't.
"It's always important that you've got people in the right frame of mind and I thought we started the game very well and deservedly took the lead. We should have got a second goal with the penalty (missed by Papiss Cisse) but it wasn't to be.
"That would have made it more comfortable and easier for us just before half-time so it was always going to be tight until somebody got the next goal, if they were going to get a goal. But we won the game 1-0 and saw the game out.
"We kept a clean sheet with a couple of great saves from Stevie Harper, which is what you need, and got the right result."
With Pardew in the stand, Carver and Stone had a big role to play from the dugout - not that leading the team from the touchline is anything new to Carver, who managed Toronto in the MLS as well as serving as caretaker boss for Leeds and Sheffield United.
"It's different because I'm used to working under the boss, but I have done it quite a few times so it's not unusual for me," he said.
"But I do prefer it when the manager's there and we can have a chat rather than talking on the telephone!
"Stoney was communicating with the manager in the stand and the good thing is, he was seeing what we were seeing and I think everybody was seeing the same thing.
"So it's not a problem. Modern technology does work and makes a big difference."