Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew says his side's defensive strength will be crucial to their Premier League ambitions this campaign.
The Magpies extended their unbeaten start to the season to four games in Monday's goalless draw with QPR and recorded a third clean sheet.
"The back four were brilliant again," Pardew told BBC Newcastle.
"I'm very pleased, and we've got something to lean on because we do look a good, sound unit."
Pardew added: "I can remember games last year where we didn't threaten the goal at all and got beat 3-0, but we didn't tonight and that might be the difference that gets us up the table."
Despite the shut-out, Newcastle were unable to fully test Rangers goalkeeper Paddy Kenny with only eight shots on goal, three of which were on-target.
"We played with two strikers, it's a small pitch and we took a bit of a gamble that we might be able to boss the two centre-backs, but we didn't really," Pardew continued.
"That extra midfield players that they had allowed them to control the game, I tried to stay with that system, but really it was only my confidence in the back four and the goalkeeper that allowed me to do that.
"I thought our flair players were all a bit off their best and that's always going to have an impact."
Newcastle are now fourth in the Premier League with eight points from four games.