MOST Newcastle United fans had resigned themselves to another season of mid-table mediocrity after opening their Premiership campaign with only one point from their first five fixtures.

But it's amazing what one win can do, and Sunday's emphatic 3-0 triumph at Blackburn has reignited renewed optimism within the United camp with coach Terry McDermott believing the Magpies can secure a Champions League berth this season.

McDermott reckons if the club can stay injury-free then he sees no reason why, next term, they can't be competing on the same elite European stage with the likes of AC Milan and Real Madrid.

"When we get all our players back there is no reason why we can't have a good season," said McDermott, who is in his third spell at St James' Park.

"I think we have got a chance of getting in the Champions League - I really do. In all honesty if we can get our players fit we have a chance.

"We haven't got a massive squad but we have got a lot of quality and I honestly believe we can get in the top four Champions League places as we have got the players to do that.

"We had five quality players out at Blackburn - Emre, Kieron Dyer, Nobby Solano, Scott Parker and Albert Luque - who would be around the first team.

"It will take time to gel a few players in but we have the squad to get us where we want to be."

Newcastle travelled to Lancashire on Sunday knowing they were only seconds away from making the trip as the Premiership's bottom club.

McDermott confessed he feared the worst when he heard Sunderland were leading West Brom at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

But Zoltan Gera's injury-time header for the Baggies eased any Magpies' fears the Black Cats would leap above them and, ensured cult-hero status for Hungarian when he next visits St James' Park.

"When Sunderland were 1-0 up, we like the supporters, thought we were going to go bottom of the league," said McDermott.

"But this was an important day for the manager, who has had a lot of flak. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck, which we have not been getting, but the players still put on a performance in the second half."

Former Magpie and fans favourite Steve Watson admitted he was 'pleased' to play his part in denying the Wearsiders' first win of the season.

The versatile West Brom midfielder, who was subject to dog's abuse at the Stadium of Light," said: "Let's be honest here it wasn't the most friendly reaction I got everytime I took a throw in, so yes, it is fair for me to say as a Newcastle fan I'm pleased we got that goal to stop Sunderland going above them.

"My pal Lee Clark wouldn't have been happy if we'd lost. Anytime I can help Newcastle, if not at our expensive, then great."

Whether manager Graeme Souness' job was on the line if Newcastle failed to beat Blackburn is open to conjecture, but it goes without saying the victory helped ease the noose around his neck.

McDermott confessed he was well aware of the speculation surrounding his manager's job due to the team's poor start to the season, but believes the 51-year-old Scot is the right man for the job.

"A lot of people are waiting for Graeme to fall on his backside, but it won't happen," said an emotional McDermott.

"The fans chanted his name at Blackburn and I do believe he is the right man for this job.

"I have no doubts about that. Even if we had drawn at Blackburn I would have still said that. Hand on heart, I am convinced he is the right person to get this club back to where it belongs. I love this club as much as the supporters and that is what I believe.

"There is a lot of talk going around but if we get our players fit the fans can be confident this will end being a good season."