MIKE Williamson left St James’s Park with a fat lip – but the defender was still smiling.
Williamson played his part in Newcastle United’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Aston Villa yesterday.
It was a superb tackle from Williamson on Christian Benteke that brought St James’s Park to life life late in the game.
Roared on by the crowd, United claimed all three points thanks to a dramatic injury-time strike from Loic Remy.
The result ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats and left eighth-placed Newcastle five points behind Everton and Manchester United in the Premier League with 11 games left to play.
“The last thing the lads want is for the season to peter out,” Williamson said.
“We want to keep pushing and to prove we can look up the league rather than down the league.
“I thought the character shone through more than anything.
“I don’t think there was a great deal of quality on the pitch, but that’s what happens when a team lacks confidence.
“But what you’ve got to do is roll your sleeves up and do the basics and work as hard as you can, and I thought that was what the team did.
“We did create chances, and I had a belief that as long as we could keep the back door shut we could always come up with something like that. Loic did, and the lads are buzzing.”
United manager Alan Pardew, under pressure in the build-up to the match, had stressed the importance of getting a result above all else before the game.
“The result was as important as the performance,” said Williamson, a fixture in Pardew’s starting XI since September.
“The gaffer said in the changing room before the game that we owed ourselves and the fans a result. We had to show we had character and heart, and I thought that was written all over our performance.”
Asked about his bruised and bloodied lip, the 30-year-old added: “It was a clash of heads – it’s the fattest lip I’ve ever had!”