Laid-back Newcastle United refuse to relax – Mike Williamson

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DEFENDER Mike Williamson says ‘laid-back’ Newcastle United are refusing to getting carried away with their stunning start to the season.

The Magpies are third in the Premier League after an 11-game unbeaten start to the season.

But they face league leaders – and the top flight’s only other unbeaten side – Manchester City, champions Manchester United and 2010 league winners Chelsea in their next three games.

It is a tough run, which makes the points tally they’ve collected so far even more important – and Williamson insists that while the team have exceeded boss Alan Pardew’s expectations so far, they know how difficult the Premier League can be.

“The fact is we get a points tally each month,” said the defender, currently out with an ankle injury.

“If we maintain that we’re looking at a top-10 finish. At the moment we’ve exceeded it, which is fantastic.

“But it’s a long season, a difficult league and the squad’s got a lot to play for.”

That squad may be missing big characters like Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan this season, but Williamson says while the dressing room is a different place to be, the relaxed nature of it is paying dividends out on the pitch, with Newcastle picking up seven wins and four draws in the league.

While Barton continues to make headlines for his Twitter rants, the players left on Tyneside are happy to do their talking with their feet.

“I know people look at it and think Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton have gone and they were big characters,” Williamson added.

“I personally got on with them. I think they were positive characters in the dressing room, and positive influences.

“This year it is different, the likes of the French guys have come in and there’s other new signings too.

“But I suppose it’s carried on. There’s a general, laid-back happiness in the changing room.

“It’s a confidence and happiness that we take onto the pitch really. We enjoy it, we don’t have to grind out results – we can go out there and express ourselves. Long may it continue.

“It’s just been settled for a few months. That’s nice for the lads, it’s just been settled.

“The lads are doing their talking on the pitch, and nothing can be said about our performances that’s not positive.”