Boss Eddie Howe believes Newcastle proved the doubters wrong after inflicting Aston Villa’s first home league defeat in almost a year.
Fabian Schar’s first-half double and Alex Moreno’s own goal gave the Magpies a deserved 3-1 win in Birmingham.
Ollie Watkins’ 50th Premier League goal for Villa gave the hosts hope but they were unable to mount a comeback.
It was Villa’s first home top-flight defeat since February last year and came after Newcastle had lost six of their last seven league games.
“We answered a lot of questions but it’s just one game and we need to build on the last two results,” said Howe, with Newcastle climbing to seventh.
“It was a big win and performance, the players were really good. It was us of last year.
“We had that good start, it gave us confidence and it was a very good away performance. Now the challenge is to maintain that.
“It’s been frustrating as we’ve done well in the cup competitions away from home but the Premier League seems to have been a different story.
“It was mixed emotions for me because that team is an elite team. The mixed part is that we haven’t seen that for a number of weeks. We looked much like ourselves and we have players coming back.”
Anthony Gordon was denied by Emi Martinez before Schar struck twice in four first-half minutes.
The defender capitalised on poor defending from Douglas Luiz and Ezri Konsa from Kieran Trippier’s corner to open the scoring after 32 minutes.
Soon after Gordon’s shot was deflected over and, when the corner was only half-cleared, the winger’s volley clipped Clement Lenglet, hit the underside of the bar and Schar prodded in.
Newcastle’s dominance continued six minutes after the break when Miguel Almiron – on for Alexander Isak, who came off with a suspected groin injury – robbed Matty Cash and was slipped in by Gordon’s return ball.
His cross reached Jacob Murphy and the winger’s effort went in off the sliding Moreno.
Villa found some fight and after Moussa Diaby had gone close Watkins pulled a goal back with 19 minutes left, firing in Leon Bailey’s cross.
The striker also had a goal disallowed for a tight offside call two minutes later but the hosts could not recover.
Villa remain fourth but will be overhauled by Tottenham if Spurs beat Brentford on Wednesday.
“I spoke with the players and told them I am very proud of them and the supporters after a lot of successful matches here. One loss was always going to come,” said boss Unai Emery, with Villa due to confirm the signing of Morgan Rogers from Middlesbrough in a deal worth £16million.
“We can’t lose our perspective. Winning is better but we are facing seven teams stronger than us, but we have our process. The message is to keep going ahead and try and find comfort in the work that we are doing.
“We are frustrated, a little bit disappointed, but in our perspective we are happy. We weren’t clinical and we conceded more chances and set-pieces than normal.
“We have 43 points. We are going to work and try to keep the distance that we have now and then focus on Saturday (at Sheffield United).”