captain Steven Taylor hailed the confidence within the Newcastle United squad after they claimed their fourth win in a row with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.
Ayoze Perez scored the only goal in the second half as the Magpies continued their recent resurgence and Taylor believes his team-mates are at last getting the rewards for their recent efforts.
“The belief is back now and that’s what we needed,” he said. “I think we showed today what we’re all about and we caught them on the counter-attack many times.
“First half we tried to get down the outside but they’re very well organised, the ability that they’ve got, they could catch us on the counter-attack themselves.”
Manager Alan Pardew has come in for much criticism from the Newcastle fans and Taylor is delighted to see his boss turning things around.
“It was a great atmosphere today,” he said. “Everybody is fully behind him and the main thing is, we keep winning and everybody is happy.
“It’s exciting and obviously we have got a bit of momentum going into the next game, but we just keep taking it one game at a time and not getting carried away.”
Former Tenerife frontman Perez was Newcastle’s matchwinner for the second time in a week after scoring the decisive goal at Tottenham last Sunday.
Yesterday, he stabbed home from close range with 17 minutes remaining to seal a 1-0 victory, the Magpies’ third on the trot in the league, a feat they had not achieved since November last year.
It was no more than they deserved after another committed display in front of a largely delighted crowd of 52,166, and they might have won more comfortably had goalkeeper Simon Mignolet not pulled off a fine one-on-one save from substitute Remy Cabella four minutes later.
Pardew’s Liverpool counterpart, Brendan Rodgers, was left to reflect upon another toothless display with a daunting Champions League trip to Real Madrid to come on Tuesday evening.
Liverpool started brightly, retaining possession and pinning the home side back without threatening to break through. That proved to be a theme during the opening 45 minutes as lone striker Mario Balotelli and wide-man Raheem Sterling were too often isolated to leave Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul untroubled.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between until the final few minutes of the half when Mignolet needed the help of defender Glen Johnson to head Papiss Cisse’s 37th-minute shot off the line. Krul was just as relieved three minutes later when Martin Skrtel powered a free header wide from Steven Gerrard’s corner.
Pardew made a change at the break when Perez replaced Cisse, who has been struggling with a knee problem, but it was the visitors who went close five minutes after the restart when Balotelli forced a solid save from Krul from a free kick.
The breakthrough finally arrived when Moussa Sissoko and Paul Dummett played a one-two for the Frenchman to cross towards Remy Cabella. Liverpool full-back Alberto Moreno cut the ball out but hesitated, allowing Perez to step in and score from close range.
The Reds have claimed just 14 points from their opening ten games after finishing second last year and Rodgers admits he can understand why supporters may be becoming frustrated.
“The progress this season is going to be a slow process because there was so many changes,” he said.
“We haven’t started how we would like but we will improve. I think we showed that in the period when I first came here after six months. Understandably for the supporters it will be a difficult period for them but we can only continue to work hard.”