Fabricio Coloccini says the only way is up for Newcastle United – after the club finally climbed out of the drop zone.
Steve McClaren’s side moved up to 17th in the Prenier League thanks to a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.
Ayoze Perez scored the only goal of the game.
But the victory owed everything to Rob Elliot’s performance in goal.
And Coloccini, United’s captain, feels that the goalkeeper – who had been struggling with a thigh injury before the match – is an “example” to his team-mates given the need for character over the coming months.
“Rob was outstanding,” said Coloccini, who put in a series of blocks and challenges to keep Bournemouth at bay.
“I’m pleased we managed to win the game for him, because he played so well. He was injured for most of last week, but he came out straight away and said that he wanted to play.
“That is the type of person that we need in the changing room.
“He is an example for all of the players to follow, and his attitude is exactly what you want when you are trying to improve and win games.
“The whole team did a great defensive job, starting from the strikers and finishing with Rob Elliot in goal.
“That was the important thing – we played like a team.”
Coloccini admitted Newcastle were poor at the Vitality Stadium, where they couldn’t keep hold the ball.
But the long-serving defender was heartened by some of the qualities the team did show in a a backs-to-the-wall performance.
“It’s important that we showed we can win a game like that,” he said. “You always want to be playing really good football, but it was good to see the team fighting like we did.
“We tried to play football, of course, but the most important thing is that when it is not going so well, we still put everything into the game to try to get a result.
“We always talk about giving 100 per cent on the pitch, and I think you saw a team playing like that.
“I’m very happy. We didn’t play a particularly good game, but we got the result and at the moment that’s the most important thing.”
Newcastle were backed by more than 1,200 fans, who had made the longest journey in Premier League football.
“I’m really pleased for the fans, and we have to thank them because it’s a really long trip and we know it can be difficult to support us in the bad times,” said Coloccini.
“They are always behind us, and this three points is for them.”
Coloccini feels the result was all-important given the need to move about of the bottom three after more than two months in the relegation zone.
“It’s a massive thing for us to be out of the bottom three,” he said.
“We have a lot of players that have come into the league from other leagues, and maybe they didn’t quite realise just how hard the Premier League is.
“It’s important to get confidence if we want to grow as a team.
“We can look forward now, and I think we are starting to do things much better and move in the right way.
“I’m confident more points will come.”