Ivory Coast International Cheick Tiote seems to be an ambitious player at Newcastle.
Cheick Tiote – in action in the African Cup of Nations earlier this year
And the 25 year-old has come out today and talked about Newcastle possibly qualifying for the Champions League.
This is what the 29 times capped player had to say about Newcastle qualifying for Europe this season:
“Getting into Europe is the biggest thing for us now and it is very important for us as players and for Newcastle as a club.”
“The first target is obviously the Europa League, but why shouldn’t we be thinking about the Champions League as well? Who knows, it could happen.”
“We have got ourselves into a good position, but all talk about Europe will mean nothing if we don’t keep winning.” “If we qualify for Europe, I will look back on this season as one of the best in my career.”
“It has not always been easy because I have had a few injuries and I missed a few games because I was playing in the Africa Cup of Nations.” “But now I want to do everything I can in the games that remain, because we can still achieve some really big things.”
“We expect to win every game we play at the moment. We are in a very confident mood right throughout the team.” “Everyone is working very hard for each other, and that is the main reason why we are doing so well.”
“If we win every game for the rest of the season, it won’t matter what other teams do.” “Papiss has been brilliant for us. You expect him to score in every game, and that is what he is doing.”
“Papiss is full of confidence and that is great to see.”
Getting into the Champions league means we would have to finish 4th top at least, and we are 5 points behind both Arsenal and Tottenham, who are on 58 points in 3rd and 4th places currently.
With Newcastle’s inferior goal difference, that really means making 6 points up on one of those two London teams, in the last 7 games of the season, which is possible but highly unlikely.
But rather than talk about qualifying for this or for that this season, all Newcastle have to do is to try to win every single one of their 7 games remaining this season.
Glenn Roeder in 2006 managed to win six of the last seven and drew 0-0 with Birmingham in the other game, and that was the last time we qualified for Europe and we finished in 7th position.
If Newcastle did the same thing this season, we’d end up with 72 points, which would be a better points tally than Bobby Robson ever achieved at Newcastle, in his five seasons in charge on Tyneside.
We got 71 points in 2001-2002 and 4th position under Sir Bobby Robson, behind Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United in that order, and then 69 points in the following season (2002-2003) and 3rd position behind Man United and Arsenal.
As we said, it’s highly unlikely that Pardew can beat the points total Bobby reached, but we think 72 points this season would qualify for the Champions League, which would be phenomenal if Newcastle could do that.
It’s easy – we just have to win six games more this season, which would be 21 wins – the second most wins ever for a Newcastle side in the Premier League, and one point from the other game.
Kevin Keegan’s side had 24 wins and 78 points in 1996, and that’s when we were caught by Man United, who won it with 82 points, four more than Newcastle in second place, and the Red Devils had 25 wins.
The maths is easy – but actually doing it could be a bridge too far for Newcastle this season, but we’d definitely take qualifying for the Europa League – which is even likely this season.