What I can say is that we have picked up from there with the wins over Everton and Aston Villa. We asked for a response following the massive disappointment of getting knocked out of the FA Cup and we got it.
We felt that we played well at Southampton the week a few days before and thought we had a good chance of winning. The fact that it was the FA Cup made it a bigger disappointment.
We couldn't have asked for any more of the players since, they've bounced back. The performance wasn't that great against Everton, but it was a win. The performance up at Villa was a very good one and a fine win.
Reacting well to a demoralising result like we did in the Cup is vital. There is obviously a lot of work done on the training pitch and talking to players individually. One thing I would have to say is that the players felt it.
As a staff and club we feel a big disappointment, but you could also see it in the players and feel a determination, particularly as the week after went on, to put things right. You could tell how badly they felt and it was clear that they wanted to put on a performance at the very next opportunity they had.
It is a testament to the players we've got and the characters we've got within the squad. We had a spell where we were criticised quite heavily in the press and I think the players felt that.
It is really down to the character of the players and I think we sometimes underestimate that. We have a good group here and we have to give them credit. They are determined to do well and really see an opportunity for us to make progress this season.
Newcastle are next for us on Wednesday and it is a big game for us. We have already said that any team from the clutch in the position we are can really climb the table if they put four of five wins together. The fact that we've had the two good wins means it is now a case of trying to push on that little bit more.
Come the end of the season, the team that finishes in third place deserves to finish there and so on. If we're going to make progress then these are the sort of games we've got to do well in and these are the sort of runs we've got to put together from now until the end of the season.
Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy will provide a major threat to us on Wednesday and I am very impressed with their partnership. Top strikers though are what we face most weeks in the Premiership and it is something we've got to learn to cope with week in week out.
It is about a team performance, and if the defensive unit get that support from the midfield and the midfield from the front players, then we operate well as a team and have a better chance of not conceding.
This is my first column of the new year and I am aware that we did not give you, the supporters, the best of starts to 2003 football-wise.