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Williamson pays fan-tastic tribute to United's faithful; Fans were tremendous:Williamson.

Byline: Mark Douglas NUFC Editor Twitter: @msidouglas

MIKE Williamson feels Newcastle United's supporters have illustrated their "true colours" by throwing their support behind the team as the debate about Alan Pardew continues.

Admitting the players had felt "pressure" after the plans to protest, the defender says there was relief the atmosphere against Hull was a positive one.

He wants the club to draw a line under the speculation and push on towards their first Premier League win.

United head to Crystal Palace tonight desperate to hit the fourth round of the Capital One Cup - and match Pardew's longest run in a domestic cup competition to boot.

Newcastle's relationship with the knockout competitions has been the subject of much debate since the club's board effectively admitted they were a secondary priority behind securing Premier League survival. However, there is no doubt the manager needs a victory to shore up his precarious position. Whatever the feelings whch have surfaced about Pardew off-the-field, Williamson is adamant on the pitch the squad have illustrated their commitment and character by fighting back against Hull.

They have also shown they are still playing for Pardew. The defender heaped praise on the supporters, explaining that their backing - despite the pressure on Pardew - helped the team in difficult circumstances.

Williamson said: "It was a tough afternoon, to go two-nil down when there was a lot of expectation was tough but we showed our character, resilience and what it meant to the lads to come back.

"People will make their own minds up about this squad but I think we showed the togetherness which exists within the squad to gain a result.

"We wanted to be positive against Hull and we were.

"We had 21 shots and they had four on target so it was frustrating but we were unlucky not to get three points.

"The majority of the fans were fan-tastic on Saturday, there was a lot of speculation about certain things but the fans got behind us in those first 20 minutes and it helped a lot.

"It's hard to say things like that don't affect you at all, it does bring a lot of pressure.

"The expectation of the atmosphere was worse than what it actually was because I think a lot of fans showed their true colours and got behind us.

"It was nice to see." The centre-back is also arguing the campaign has not been as bad as some have implied.

He feels performances are better than many have made out. He added: "We had Manchester City first game and our display was good, but we lost. That (the performance) was a positive. They had fantastic players.

"At Villa we could have quite easily won, we had the chances and then with Palace we were 3-2 up so you'd expect to hold on.

"Then at Southampton (it) was a tough and unacceptable afternoon, we needed to put things right and I felt we did that against Hull.

"I think our luck changes soon and we will get that win which we need."

Williamson feels the team showed "character" and "togetherness" to bounce back from the Saints defeat.

He said: "As a player you want to play the next day after a game and defeat like we had at Southampton.

"You want to put it behind you and bounce back and I think, after a tough week, we did do that against Hull on the back of a tough week. We showed a lot of character.

"It was tough to come back from 2-0. Now we have Stoke to look forward to next Monday after the trip to Crystal Palace. There are never going to be any easy games in the Premier League, we just have to build on the positives we showed against Hull.

"We showed our character, our togetherness and showed what it meant to the lads."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 24, 2014
Words:649
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