Captain Jamaal Lascelles says Newcastle United are ready to defend for their lives as they attack the Championship.
The club moved up to second place after Saturday evening’s 2-0 win over Derby County.
Yoan Gouffran and DeAndre Yedlin found the net at the iPro Stadium.
Gouffran gave Newcastle an early lead with his first goal since January last year, and Rafa Benitez’s side doggedly and determinedly defended their lead until substitute Yedlin made certain of all three points with an injury-time strike.
United have now gone 405 minutes in all competitions since conceding a goal.
Derby-born Lascelles, booed by home fans for his long association with Nottingham Forest, hailed the team’s defensive effort after the game.
We were all obviously really upset with getting relegated. I think we just all really want it a lot, so everyone’s giving 100% and making those last-ditch tackles and headers and defending well from the front to the back.Proud Jamaal Lascelles reacts to Newcastle’s defensive masterclass and the boos at Derby
Asked about the club’s defensive record, Lascelles said: “I just think we want it.
“We were all obviously really upset with getting relegated. I think we just all really want it a lot, so everyone’s giving 100% and making those last-ditch tackles and headers and defending well from the front to the back.
“We got the goal early on and we just killed the game off.
“We know we don’t need to go and get another. We can defend and stay compact and because of that they were open and we managed to go and nick another so credit to the boys.”
Lascelles, appointed captain by Newcastle manager Benitez on the eve of the season, has experience of the Championship from his time at Forest.
“I have played a lot of games in the Championship,” said the 22-year-old. “I’ve said to them, we can’t be complacent.
“OK, we are Newcastle United and we have been in the Premiership for years, and we’ve got a massive club and a massive history, but it’s a tough league, and Derby, credit to them, they came out and put on a good show.
“There’s a lot of talent in this league, so the only thing I said to the boys was don’t get complacent, stay professional and do your all.”
On the boos aimed at him, Lascelles said: “Being at Nottingham Forest when I was younger, it’s always nice to come to Derby and get the three points.
“I don’t mind it. It revs me up a bit, to be honest.
“I think the last time I was on this pitch, I rugby-tackled one of the fans because he’d run on the pitch and started swinging for Kelvin Wilson when I was at Forest.
“So can’t imagine they’re too fond of me, but that’s football for you.”
Lascelles added: “I’ve got loads of friends and family here. I only live 5 minutes around the corner.”
United lost their first two Championship games – one of those defeats was to league leaders Huddersfield Town – in a difficult first 180 minutes in the division.
“It wasn’t the start we were looking for, and we are starting to gel,” said Lascelles.
“We’ve still got a lot to offer. I know that because I chat with the boys every day. We’ve got Daryl Murphy and Christian Atsu, who could have been involved in the squad. So we’ve got a strong team in depth, and it’s a really good competition in every position.
“We’re not going to get carried away. It doesn’t really matter, the other team.
“If we play how we can play, and how we know how we can do, then it doesn’t matter.”
Benitez quickly identified Lascelles as a dressing room leader after taking charge of the club late last season.
He said: “He’s a young player with a good personality, good character, and he’s someone that can keep growing on the pitch and outside.
“It’s important for us as a team, as a club, to have people that understand what this club means to the fans and want it means to work hard to be a professional.
“He’s someone who wants to learn and to improve.”