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Defender believes the Magpies' rearguard remains strong despite recent performances, and on a personal level is enjoying his run in the side following earlier injuries

Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson has hit out at critics, insisting that the Magpies' back line is "as strong as ever".

Having conceded ten goals in two visits to the capital this year - 5-2 at Fulham in January and 5-0 at Spurs two weeks ago - concerns have been raised about the defensive capabilities of the squad.

But Williamson was unequivocal when speaking to The Sunday Sun, declaring: “Our back four is as strong as ever!”

Williamson was keen to remind critics of Newcastle’s handsome victory over Manchester United in January.

“I wonder what those people were saying when we beat Manchester United 3-0?” he said.

“I’m sure people have their opinions and some of them are probably fair enough, but it was pretty much the same side that turned Manchester United over 3-0.”

He did concede, however, that the 5-0 loss to Tottenham was a poor one - but played down its impact on the season.

“The Tottenham game was just a bad day at the office, we all know that. It doesn’t change the dynamics of the league and we will just get on with it.

“We have got a team here that is good enough to keep clean sheets and really that was just a freak result.”

Williamson’s early days at Newcastle were marred by injury but he is now focused on enjoying his football alongside fellow defender Fabricio Coloccini.

“It was a long time to be out – four months,” he said.

“I feel great now and I’m really enjoying my minutes on the pitch. You can never take them for granted and every footballer will tell you, you never know what is round the corner.

“I’m just relishing playing, having the shirt and playing next to Colo."

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