STEVEN Taylor took one for the team on his return to the starting XI – but the defender’s pain was Newcastle United’s gain.
Long-serving Taylor made his first Premier League start against Leicester City on Saturday in the absence through injury of Mike Williamson
And the 28-year-old, making his 250th appearance for the club, played his part in the 1-0 win.
With United leading by Gabriel Obertan’s second-half goal, Taylor made a painful stoppage-time block from Leicester substitute Anthony Knockaert.
The result – Newcastle’s first league win of the campaign – moved Alan Pardew’s 18th-placed side to within touching distance of the clubs outside the relegation zone.
Taylor said: “I think you could feel the relief all around the ground, when Obertan cut in and stuck it past (Kasper) Schmeichel.
“Once we got back in that changing room, it was tiredness, cramp – it all kicked in. There was hard work throughout the team, which is what we needed.
“Everyone put a shift in, if we carried one person, we wouldn’t have got a result.
“That’s what you need to kick-start the season. When you see the games we’ve got coming up, it’s a massive confidence boost for us.
“It hasn’t been going so well for us in recent weeks, but sometimes you have to win a bit ugly. I thought in the second half we stuck at it well and we controlled the game.”
On the anti-Pardew sentiment among fans which has been a feature of games this season, Taylor added: “If you let it affect you, you have no chance, you just have to get on with it.”
Taylor is now hoping to keep his place for Sunday’s game against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
“Hopefully now we can move on,” he said. “We’ve given the gaffer a massive headache to pick his next side.
“I’ve got to keep training hard and hopefully keep myself in his eyeline, and get picked. For me, I was selected and I had to do a job. I’m just glad we got the clean sheet and won.”