Cheick Tiote was back in training at the Benton training grounds yesterday, with the rest of the Newcastle squad.
Cheick Tiote – back again on Saturday
And the Ivory Coast International spoke for the first time about his huge disappointment of losing the final of the African Cup of Nations to Zambia on penalties last week, after neither side had scored in normal time or in extra time.
And Cheick revealed in his interview that he had given his medal away to a friend, because he didn’t want to keep it and remind him of the terrible loss in the final, when the Ivorians went down 8-7 in an amazing penalty shoot-out, which lasted for 18 penalty kicks.
The last time Cheick played for Newcastle was in probably our best display of the season at St. James’ Park on January 4th, when we beat Manchester United in that 3-0 win.
There have been seven games since that game and Newcastle have won four, including one in the FA Cup against Blackburn, and lost three, including the 1-0 loss at Brighton in the FA Cup.
That game also saw Yohan Cabaye suspended for three games for violent conduct, and it occurred after the game, after Brighton player Adam El-Abd made sure everybody knew about the alleged misdemeanor by the Frenchman.
El-Abd was the same player who was comically wrapping his arms around Andy Carroll for every corner last Sunday at Anfield, when Brighton were hammered 6-1 by Liverpool – so why didn’t the referee give a penalty when he kept doing that?
In the Newcastle league games with Cheick away, we have won three of five, but the two defeats were the two five goal defeats in London.
But the good news is that Newcastle are still 6th top of the league, and just a single point behind Arsenal and Chelsea, who are having their own troubles this season.
Cheick is not surprised Newcastle have done so well this season:
“We have a good squad, we have a lot of great players and I’m not surprised that we have done well because I know the players have good mentality and quality to win games,”
“So I think we need to keep doing the same things.” “I think it’s a big moment for the team, because we lost the last game against Spurs. Five-nil, it was, and I was sad because we have a good team also.”
“So now we have to keep our heads and do well to win this game on Saturday.” “It has been great to see my friends and to be back in Newcastle. Now I have to think about Newcastle, because the tournament with my national team is finished now.”
“I think it’s important when you come back from your national team to do more of what you do every time. I think it’s important for the fans, and the manager, to see that we have ambition for the club to do well and to play well for the team.”
“I have to do my job for the team and for the fans, and I think we have a possibility to win on Saturday.”
Cheick Tiote is a very popular player on Tyneside, and that’s not just because he’s an excellent defensive midfielder who brings so much energy to the Newcastle side.
But he is also a great lad who still supports his family back in the Ivory Coast, with the wages he makes at Newcastle.
Cheick supports his family of five brothers and three sisters back in Abidjan, the largest city in the Ivory Coast.
It’s hard not to like a player who does that, and makes good use of the money he makes at Newcastle.