JONAS Gutierrez last night claimed Newcastle United’s draw at West Ham United proved the team remain together as they face the toughest battle of their careers.
His side conceded ground to third bottom Wigan Athletic, who play Swansea at home tomorrow night, but still remain hopeful that even three points from their final two Premier League matches will be enough.
Saturday’s performance at Upton Park was a marked improvement on the Liverpool game, but Newcastle were hanging on at the end for a point and had goalkeeper Rob Elliot to thank for a string of fine saves.
Gutierrez (right), however, insisted the game was evidence of unity, something that will help them get over the line.
He said: “I think we showed that Saturday was a performance of a united, committed team. Everybody could see we were fighting for each other.
“It has been a difficult few weeks, and we haven’t been solid or compact – but on Saturday we were.
“I thought defensively we did a great job against a difficult team right up until the end.
“It is hard going here and getting something. Of course, before the game we wanted to win, but a draw was justice for us.
“We walked off the pitch and heard the other results, but really I don’t care about the other teams, I’m only thinking about Newcastle and what we have to do.
“Saturday was a good step in staying up. A clean sheet was so important after last week. Away from home we haven’t had many good performances this year, now we look forward to the next game and hopefully the same kind of performance can get us a win.
“But we know we must get the three points next week at QPR. That probably means we don’t have to think of other results.”
Last week was dominated by headlines of in-fighting and division within the Newcastle dressing room, allegations manager Alan Pardew has denied, in the wake of losing by six goals at home to Liverpool.
But this week all thoughts will be on keeping the club in the Premier League. Nothing else matters at this stage. Three points should do it, although there is a possibility that Newcastle will go into the last game of the season, a home match with Arsenal, needing a point or at least results elsewhere to go their way.
Gutierrez said: “The last week has not been good, but it’s always hard after losing by a big score. Nobody has been walking around smiling, but we’ve been sticking together.
“We are all in this fight together. We all want the same thing.
“It was important not to lose this, even more so to keep a clean sheet and now there is a big game next week.
“No one who was at the West Ham game could say we weren’t playing for each other, fighting until the final whistle.
“If we’d played more games like this in recent weeks I don’t think we’d be talking about a relegation battle. We showed the fighting qualities we need to survive.
“The mood in the dressing room is good. We would have liked to have gone home with all three points, we did most things right and must do that again next week. ”
The return of Fabricio Coloccini could prove vital. Without being at his best, the Argentinian marshalled the back four well and they recorded an all-too rare clean sheet.
Gutierrez said: “It was really important to have our captain back. Not just because he is a leader, but he is a great player too. The commitment started at the back, it was so important to have him.”