Everton defender Bryan Oviedo admits the distraction of a potential Wembley final in the Capital One Cup may have impacted on the club's Premier League form.
After booking their place in the two-legged semifinal against Manchester City in early December, the Toffees managed just one league win -- coincidentally also against Newcastle -- prior to Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the Magpies.
Everton exited the Capital One Cup last week after defeat in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium, but have shown that Oviedo may have a point by bouncing back with a 3-0 win at League Two Carlisle in the FA Cup and then repeating the feat against the Magpies in the Premier League.
"The Capital One Cup maybe was a little distraction from the Premier League for us," said Oviedo. "With this team that doesn't need to happen, but sometimes it does.
"We were very sad to lose at Man City, but right now we need to focus on the most important thing which is winning the next few games. If we win the next few games then we are nearer the top again."
While victory only moved Everton up one place to 11th in the table, it at least put a healthy 11 points between themselves and Newcastle, who occupy 18th spot.
The win was Everton's first at home in the league since November and only their second clean-sheet at Goodison Park all season. But equally as important as the result was that they did not squander the early advantage given to them by Aaron Lennon and managed to close out the game with two late Ross Barkley penalties.
"It was a very good game for us and to get three points was very important because over the last few games we have maybe lost some big points,'' added Oviedo. "We have been talking about being strong in the last few minutes, because in recent games we have conceded late goals. We spoke about being motivated in the last 10 minutes in particular, and it was different this time as we were very strong at the end of the game.''
Goodison Park has not been the happiest of homes for the Toffees this season, with fans quick to transfer their anxiety and anger on to the players on the pitch. That is something the squad has had to learn how to handle, but Oviedo believes they are getting better at it.
"We have spoken about that," he added. "We need to focus on ourselves and be clearer. Sometimes the fans want [us] to score goals, but that is normal.
"At the moment we are just focusing on winning games and being nearer the top of the league as quickly as possible. We need to make a winning team.''