Mike Williamson

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

For Mike Williamson, back-to-back victories - and clean sheets - against Chelsea and Tottenham have helped banish the memories of one of the darkest days of his career.

When Newcastle returned home from local rivals Sunderland empty-handed last month, it wasn't just the supporters who were hurting; Williamson is honest enough to admit it was a low point for the players too.

But since that Tyne-Wear derby defeat, the Magpies have bounced back in impressive fashion.

First, they took big-spending Manchester City to extra-time in the Capital One Cup before bowing out, but saved their best for the Barclays Premier League.

Chelsea came to Tyneside and were dispatched 2-0, and United then followed it up on Sunday by travelling to Tottenham and snatching a single-goal victory.

And when it comes to the reason for the turnaround in fortunes, for Williamson it's simple.

"It's a reaction," he told nufc.co.uk.

"The supporters were obviously upset by it and, I can't speak for anyone else, but for me it was one of the worst defeats of my career.

"I can't stand losing those games that mean so much. I hate it.

"It was then all about how we responded to it. In the cup against Manchester City we kept a clean sheet over 90 minutes, and then we went on to beat Chelsea and Tottenham.

"We have two clean sheets and two wins now against two difficult teams, so everyone is very happy. We knew we were capable of it"

It took an outstanding rearguard performance - led by goalkeeper Tim Krul - to keep Tottenham at bay on Sunday.

The Dutch stopper made an astonishing 14 saves during the game but was also helped out by those in front of him, as the likes of Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa blocked, tackled, headed and cleared everything that came their way.

"It was hard fought to say the least," said Williamson.

"I think we rode our luck at times but we put ourselves in a position to do that and we continued our resilience and discipline from last week against Chelsea.

"We had to defend a lot but when you've got players like Gouff, Remy, Shola and Moussa on the pitch you are always likely to nick a goal as well.

"The lads were brilliant, we defended from the front and it was a great team win.

"You couldn't go to Tottenham and get anything unless it was a real team effort.

"Everyone was pulling in the same direction and we never lost sight of what we were trying to achieve."

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