Aston Villa manager Dean Smith speaking to Sky Sports: "This is a really tough league and we have just gone through a period of playing Manchester City and Liverpool, which were games I thought we actually played well in.
"The table is so tight but you need to put a run together, be tough to beat and keep a clean sheet. I'm really pleased with the clean sheet as we haven't had too many of those this season.
"Our form has been good; we knew it would be hard, but I think we've been competitive. It takes time to gel defensively but we achieved that against Newcastle."
On goalscorer Conor Hourihane, Smith added: "I explained to Conor why I left him out against Manchester City [on 26 October]. He has scored goals in every league he's played in and I always had him earmarked to come back in and he showed us what he was about."