Mark Douglas learns about Dutch midfielder Vurnon Anita's debt to Martin Jol - the man who helped shape his career in Amsterdam.
Before that came about the cynics were asking whether Newcastle’s famous scouting touch had deserted them, but a run that began with a spectacular goal in Bruges has continued with some good performances in his favoured midfield role.
“Those defeats were not nice, but you learn things through it. You must keep the faith and the focus through those hard times and it makes you stronger,” he said. “We are a good group and no matter what, we can win matches. We must keep faith in ourselves, make sure we keep working hard and do things right again. You saw against Wigan that we were fantastic, which proves that we can do it. We must keep that spirit onto the Fulham game.
“Personally I feel that the Newcastle supporters are starting to see the real me. Against Wigan it was fantastic, it was good. But we are not there yet and I must keep on doing the things I’ve been doing behind the scenes, I must keep on working hard and really working on my form and my fitness too.
“It doesn’t happen by itself – the only way that you can really maintain your form is to keep doing those things like the extra work in training. I will keep doing it and hopefully I will improve.”
Anita’s growing maturity on the pitch has been a pleasant development but there were never any worries about his demeanour off the field.
A confident, cool character with a natural authority, he isn’t afraid of confronting questions head-on. And when asked about Newcastle’s ambitions this season the priority is clear: simply avoiding the ‘losing spiral’ is what it’s about first and foremost.
He said: “Our aims have not changed but we must take it one step at a time.”