DARYL Janmaat says he never questioned his move to Newcastle United – even when the team were struggling in the early weeks of the campaign.
Janmaat signed from Feyenoord in the summer as Arsenal-bound Mathieu Debuchy’s replacement.
And the defender was given a baptism of fire on Tyneside, with the team having struggled to get up and running.
There were also renewed calls for United manager Alan Pardew to be sacked as the club languished near the foot of the Premier League.
But club owner Mike Ashley stuck with Pardew, and Janmaat and his team-mates – who take on leaders Chelsea at St James’s Park this afternoon – went on a six-game league and cup winning streak.
Reflecting on the past three months, Janmaat told the Gazette: “I never really had any doubts.
“Of course, at the start of the season, things were not good, and there was a lot of pressure on the trainer (Pardew) and on us as players.
“That was not nice, but I always had the belief that we had a good enough squad to do much better.
“I probably didn’t expect us to win six games in a row, but I always knew we were capable of going on a much better run and turning things around.”
Newcastle – who drew 1-1 with Burnley on Tuesday night – face their biggest test so far this season today.
Janmaat knows United will be challenged defensively by Chelsea, but he is also confident the team has enough pace to hurt Jose Mourinho’s side.
“We have shown in this run that we can win different types of matches,” he said.
“We can attack teams and cause problems on the break, but we can also be organised and hard to break down when we have to be. That is a big strength of the team.
“At the moment, we are very good defensively and we also have a lot of pace in attack.
“You can see that on the counter, we have really improved our football this year.
“We have to continue like this and train hard every week. Every game is different, and we have to be prepared for that.
“If you play Tottenham away, you know you are going to have to defend a lot.
“But if you are playing a lower team at home, you have to be prepared to take the game to your opponent more.”
Janmaat feels Newcastle must continue to build from the back.
“If you have a clean sheet, then we have enough skills in the front line to make a goal,” said the Holland international. “If we can keep a clean sheet, we feel as though we can win any game we play in.”