By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle picked up their first point in four Barclays Premier League outings with a 0-0 draw at Norwich, and the value of the result was not lost on returning midfielder Jonas Gutierrez.
Only current league champions Manchester City, Champions League holders Chelsea and Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool have beaten the Canaries at Carrow Road in the league this season, while Chris Hughton's side have defeated both Arsenal and Manchester United on home soil this term.
And although it wasn't particularly pretty, Gutierrez was pleased that the Magpies were resilient enough to hold the East Anglian outfit after shipping 11 goals in their previous two top flight away games.
"It was a good point," the Argentina international told nufc.co.uk. "A lot of teams come to play here and get beat.
"Maybe in the first half we played better than the second half but it was really important that we didn't concede a goal and that we could get a point for the confidence of the players and to look forward to the next game.
"We had to work really hard but that's what football's about - working hard, trying to overlap and to come back as well because we have to help the defenders and the defenders have to help us. The group, the team, had to be very compact in both areas and that is the big plus of today.
"Nothing else matters as long as we stick together in the games and try to do the best for our team-mates. That's the most important thing."
The result was all the more impressive in Gutierrez's eyes because, having played under Norwich boss Hughton when he was in charge at St. James' Park, he knows that it's not easy to beat any side coached by the former Tottenham and Republic of Ireland full-back.
"He's a very good manager - and Colin (Calderwood) as well, " he said. "They're great people as well. I hope they have a great season and are here for a long time. I wish them very well."
Gutierrez had been sidelined since last month's 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers with a knee injury and showed what Newcastle had been missing with a typically energetic display. And he has vowed to get even better as his match sharpness returns in the weeks ahead.
"You know that when you're out for two or three weeks, when you come back you feel the difference with the speed of the game because you're not used to it," he admitted.
"But I feel good and now the most important thing is to try to come back to do my stuff with the ball. When you're out you don't touch the ball, you're just running. Now I have a long week with the team to work hard in training to be better for the next game."
That next fixture is against Reading, currently second from bottom of the table, before United travel to third-bottom Aston Villa and Gutierrez believes the result at Norwich sets them up nicely for those crucial clashes.
"Normally, teams try to get three points at home and one away," he said. "That's what you look for before the start of the season.
"You know that whenever you play away, it's really tough in the Premier League. They have different types of games, different sizes of their pitches so they make it tough to play away.
"So to take a point today is very important for the confidence of the team and we didn't concede a goal so now we have to focus on the next game against Reading.
"It's going to be really important and we have to go back to what we did last season which was being strong at St. James' Park."
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