Newcastle - Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe knows there will be twists and turns ahead but after his side secured successive Premier League wins for the first time this season with a 3-1 defeat of Everton it felt like a turning point on Tuesday.
Victory, secured by second-half goals from Ryan Fraser and Kieran Trippier after the sides had traded own goals in the first half, lifted Newcastle to 17th place and out of the bottom three for the first time all season.
Despite the fans' joy at the 305 million pounds ($413 million) takeover by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) in October -- results on the pitch since have rather dampened the euphoria.
They did not even win a game until beating Burnley in December and their survival prospects have looked bleak.
But the way they shook off an own goal by captain Jamaal Lascelles in the 36th minute to dominate Frank Lampard's side augured well for the rest of the season.
There was an energy and method about Newcastle's play that has so often been lacking and in French winger Allan Saint-Maximin they have a new St James' Park idol.
His impact was huge as he led Everton a merry dance, although the biggest roar of the night was for Trippier's superb 80th-minute free kick that secured the win.
Trippier, whose signing from Atletico Madrid was the first symbol of Newcastle's new pulling power, epitomised a vibrant home display that left Howe purring.
"It is a big result for us because it was back-to-back wins," Howe, who replaced Steve Bruce after the takeover, said.
"Consecutive wins in the Premier League are rare -- they can change your status and elevate the club but we have to stay calm and focus on the next game.
"There is a good feeling in the dressing room, confidence levels are building. Our navigating of the game in tight situations has improved. I hope to see a big psychological effect from this win."
While Newcastle appear finally to be on the up, Lampard now knows the reality of what he has inherited at Everton.
This club. 🖤![CDATA]>🤍— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 9, 2022
Thank you for your incredible support at St. James' Park this evening.
Howay the Lads. 👊 pic.twitter.com/WXKz8w1U0D
His first Premier League match in charge ended in a fourth successive league defeat for Everton and they are now only three points above the relegation zone.
Not even debuts for new signings Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek, both as substitutes, could lift the mood.
"Of course the players' confidence levels are low -- it smacks you in the face," Lampard, who marked his first game in charge with an FA Cup win over Brentford at the weekend, said.
"There is no magic wand to fix that. This is the Premier League -- it's tough. It was never going to be easy and this result puts it into sharp focus." ($1 = 0.7383 pounds)