Steve McClaren says it smells like team spirit at Newcastle United.
The club climbed out of the Premier League’s relegation zone before the international break.
A goal from Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.
But United side were far from their best at the Vitality Stadium, where they struggled to keep possession and spent most of the 96 minutes on the back foot.
Head coach McClaren, however, was still heartened by the “spirit and fight” he saw on the south coast.
“The result was massively important,” he said. “Five or six weeks ago, I think we would have lost that game.
They’ve got spirit and fight, and they showed they could stay in the game. Early on in the season, we didn’t really see that.Steve McClaren
“What impressed me is that over the last four or five weeks, we’ve shown much more of what this team is capable of doing.
“We’ve seen that in terms of possession, creating chances and scoring goals, and now we’ve also seen that they can dig in when they need to.
“They’ve got spirit and fight, and they showed they could stay in the game. Early on in the season, we didn’t really see that because we were playing well in the first half and then not sustaining it, or we were dipping for parts of games.
“We’ve been trying to get them to extend what we were pleased with in parts of the Chelsea and Man City games for a much longer period. Can we do that for 95 minutes, or 96 as was the case on Saturday?
“We had dips in the game against Norwich, but we came through them. Previously, we hadn’t really been able to come through them like that.”