Newcastle United recorded their first win of the season against Burnley last time out - and instrumental to that was club captain Jamaal Lascelles.
The 28-year-old immediately returned to Eddie Howe’s starting XI after missing the 1-1 draw with Norwich City through suspension, five days earlier.
His selection ahead of Federico Fernandez raised a few eyebrows but Lascelles, by the full-time whistle, left with plenty of plaudits.
Here, we take a closer look at his display against the Clarets:
Jamaal Lascelles bounces back
During a season where Lascelles has often come under criticism, it’s only right he’s praised when performing well.
And his display in the 1-0 victory over Burnley was his best of the campaign. In a nerve-racking affair, Lascelles led by example, just like a captain should.
He clearly benefitted from his break against Norwich. Indeed, Lascelles cut a determined figure, a man who looked refreshed.
OK, so he started a bit slowly as Burnley target man Chris Wood won the opening headers but as the game developed, Lascelles grew wiser and stronger.
Although Maxwel Cornet’s injury on the half-hour mark was a big turning point, it was also the nullifying of Wood by Lascelles that provided the foundation for the victory.
Callum Wilson received the plaudits for his cool and composed winner just before half-time but Lascelles came to the forefront of the defensive unit.
A Burnley team under Sean Dyche will never change, and every high ball and cross that launched into the penalty box was dealt with by Lascelles in that second-half.
United actually saw out the game quite comfortably, although it was never going to feel like that in the stands given the circumstances.
On the pitch however, Lascelles’ imperious display and leadership during the anxious moments was imperative to United’s first win - and clean sheet - of the season. Both equally satisfying as each other for the defender.
The statistics behind Jamaal Lascelles’ performance
The stats certainly back up Lascelles’ excellent performance.
Lascelles won all nine of his defensive duels - his highest of the campaign - while he also won 10 of his 15 aerial duels - also a season best.
The defender registered nine interceptions, whilst completing a total of 25 recoveries. Lascelles had not reached that total in his previous three games put together.
For everything Burnley threw at Lascelles and centre-back partner Fabian Schar, both stood up to the task.
What Eddie Howe said about Jamaal Lascelles’ performance
Howe said after the win over Burnley: “I thought together with Jamaal Lascelles, who was excellent today, those two (Lascelles & Schar) set the foundation for the victory.”
Speaking 24 hours prior, Howe spoke highly of Lascelles’ attributes: “Jamaal is a hugely important player.
“He adds physicality and pace in our backline and they’re qualities that we need.
“He’s captain of the team, a very strong personality in the dressing room. I really like Jamaal, I think there’s a lot more to come from him.
“He can take his game to new heights and I’m really excited about the possibility of working with him longer-term.”
Former boss Rafa Benitez got the very best out of Lascelles. Could Howe be about to do the same?
The former Nottingham Forest defender was a bit-part player under Steve McClaren, yet his Newcastle career quickly accelerated when Benitez arrived.
You could quite rightly point to that post-match interview at Southampton as the turning point but Benitez put the ultimate faith in Lascelles by handing him the captaincy.
Now, look at the way Howe spoke above Lascelles. He talked about taking his game to new heights and believing there’s a lot more to come from him. That’s faith also.
It’s refreshing to see a manager speak about his players in that way. Lascelles must respond after a largely underwhelming campaign so far.
As captain of the football club, Lascelles has a huge role to play in this relegation dogfight. After Saturday, the signs are encouraging.