Steven Taylor’s ready to keep winding opponents up to help keep Newcastle United in the Premier League.
The defender made his comeback from injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion after being out since August with a hamstring problem.
And the 30-year-old – who is out of contract in the summer – was just happy to be back on the field helping the relegation-threatened club after another frustrating spell on the sidelines.
The result saw the club climb out of the bottom ahead of Saturday’s game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“We need characters on the pitch,” said Taylor, who experienced the pain of relegation in 2009. “When you play for Newcastle, you need a bit of fruit and veg down there.
“You’ve got to hold your own, and that’s what I did – go out there, out myself about, threw myself at everything, and yes, wind them up.
“It’s been quiet from what I’ve seen in the last few months, so liven it up a bit. And it seemed to work on a few of their players – they were moaning and it puts them off their game.”
Taylor – who helped Newcastle keep a clean sheet against Manchester United at Old Trafford on his only other start this season – feels he has been “written off” at times during an injury-ravaged few years.
“When you’re not playing you’re always going to be written off,” said the former England Under-21 international.
“That’s how it is, but I get on with it. I like to prove people wrong, I’ve done that in all my years here, every time it comes round to contract negotiations, you’re always written off.
“So I just get on with it, I play with my heart and soul, and graft, and make sure we get a result.
“There are many years to come for me. I’m feeling good, I’ve got good people around us, keeping me fit and well now and that’s my main thing, just playing football and getting that hunger back now – that’s the main thing for me.
“You’ve got to be hungry, and I’ve been dying to get out there for ages so I’m absolutely loving it.
“You get some highs and lows, with injuries and little setbacks, but I rise from that and I prove myself by training hard.
“I never sulk, that’s how I’ve always been brought up – to prove people wrong, prove everybody wrong.”
Newcastle dominated West Brom for 90 minutes, but they couldn’t convert their chances, and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half strike was the difference between the two sides.
“My main thing is winning games,” said Taylor, an unused substitute for the 3-0 defeat at Everton three days earlier.
“I said before the game – win ugly. The fans, probably 5-10 minutes they’d have given us. If things weren’t going right, they could have turned on us.
“I think we needed a reaction from the Everton game. It wasn’t acceptable. We take the criticism and we accept that.”