NEWCASTLE United's dressing room leaders of last season have gone - but the lessons taught by Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton have been learned, according to Shola Ameobi.
Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the season continued with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Aston Villa. Ameobi, the team’s senior figure with Steve Harper frozen out of the goalkeeping picture, takes it as a sign that even with their big characters gone, the mental fortitude remains.
Villa took the lead against the run of play through Gabriel Agbonlahor after 14 minutes, but Newcastle responded with Leon Best’s 57th-minute equaliser and had the better chances to win.
“It’s never easy to win games in this league and we knew as a team and a squad that a good start is always important,” he said. “All the players have really cottoned on to what we need to do to win games and get results.
“There are a few of us still here from last year and we know how to win games.
“After finishing last season on a high we’ve just kept kicking on. It’s great for our confidence when we come to places like this and get a result.
“I thought after about 20, 25 minutes we started playing and showed that character we have all season. To come back from a goal behind again, away from home, was great. For most of that game it looked as if we were the home side. We can take great confidence from that into the next game.
“It’s not an easy place to come as we’ve found out in the past, but we came here with confidence and beside the first 20 minutes I thought we dominated. If it hadn’t been for Shay (Given) we could have had three points. The most impor-tant part of a season is the end but if you get a good start it sets you up nicely. To be unbeaten six games in is fantastic.
“The fans will back the team at home, hopefully we can grab another three points against Blackburn on Saturday.”