By Tom Easterby
Mike Williamson expressed his relief at finally getting back to winning ways after Saturday's 3-0 home victory over Cardiff City.
Goals from Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy and Steven Taylor at St. James' Park secured United's first victory since Papiss Cisse headed a late winner against Crystal Palace in March, consigning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to relegation in the process.
Williamson, who has been one of Newcastle's shining lights throughout the 2013/14 season, insisted the team got their just rewards for their concerted effort in training and their determination to right the wrongs of recent results.
"I think relief is the right word," said the 30-year-old, who turned in another solid display against the Bluebirds.
"The lads have just been working phenomenally hard all week and we just wanted to show our togetherness, our heart and our fight.
"Our application has been there, but we've been on the end of some bad results. However, I feel like we showed - maybe not in terms of quality but in terms of resilience and passion - we wanted to win and hopefully get something out of the game next week too.
"They (Cardiff) have got some fantastic players. They've got a solid base, a good back four, midfielders who can hurt you and strikers and we had to be wary of that, but I felt we did that well. We limited their chances, we rode our luck but we felt like we deserved the three points in the end."
Having netted just twice in their previous six outings, goals have been at a premium for Alan Pardew's side over the past couple of months, but Williamson insisted that the shut-out at the other end gave him just as much pleasure as seeing his teammates thriving in the Cardiff box.
"Goals have been hard to come by, and clean sheets as well," he explained.
"As defenders, we pride ourselves on clean sheets and that's what we're taking out of this game. We know we had players to score goals, and it came together."
And after a season in which he has established himself as a mainstay at the heart of the Magpies' defence, the amiable centre-half spoke of his gratitude at receiving the Newcastle United publication team's Player of the Season accolade and his ever-improving partnership with Fabricio Coloccini.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed it," he said.
"I think that was my 31st start, and it's been incredible. I saw in the programme that I won a Player of the Season award which is just fantastic and for me, however small or big it is, I feel so honoured to be recognised.
"It's fantastic looking at some of the winners in previous years so it's great and I've loved every second on the pitch.
"If you look at the season we finished fifth, the last 25 games we (Williamson and Coloccini) played week in, week out together.
"We've got a good understanding and we just need continuity and I think, for me, it's just a learning curve every game.
"He's fantastic to learn off, so it's a good platform and hopefully we can build on that next season."