We suppose we should have seen a quick yellow card coming for Cheick Tiote on Sunday because he hasn´t played for us for a while and he´s certainly not match fit so his tackles could be mis-timed.
And so it was on Sunday against Norwich after just five minutes when he picked up a yellow and then we were worried in case he lunged in again and picked up a second yellow and we were down to 10 men.
Cheick Tiote – could start on Sunday
But Steve McClaren made a good change at half-time and brought in Vurnon Anita who steadied things at the back and for the next few games we will probably see both players get some playing time as we see if Cheick can return to top form.
We do think Cheick can do a job for Newcastle this season.
Sunday was Tiote´s first Premier League start since New Year’s Day and he was injured when he then left to play for the Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations and injured his knee and didn´t play again last season.
This is what the the 29-year-old midfielder has said to the local press:
“We needed to start from somewhere, and the Norwich win was the start for everyone.” “Now we have a big game coming up, and I think we need to be ready for that.”
“It was very important to get more confidence. I think we can build on that on Sunday.” “We needed confidence. I think it was a massive win for us. We did everything right to win the game.”
“We take that and go to the next game against Sunderland. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we will do the right things on the pitch and do everything to win.”
“I know it’s not easy in any Premier League game, but this one is more special for the fans and the players.” “It will be a tough, tough game.”
“I think the new players know already about the importance of the occasion.” “We have been talking about the derby in the dressing room, so I think everyone knows.”
There have been too many times in the last five derby games when Newcastle players talk a good game before the match with Sunderland and then are rather pathetic during the game.
Sunderland have outfought us and outplayed us – even though they have fought relegation over the last three seasons – that´s the main reason why we have lost all five.
A good example of that was earlier in the year when Geordie coach John Carver guaranteed his players would at the very least give their all against Sunderland.
That didn´t happen and we were hopeless and lost 1-0 at the Stadium of Light to that terrific goal from Jermain Defoe just before half time.
One player who was particularly poor in the game was Moussa Sissoko who was caption for the day – but he didn´t bother turning up.
That should be what Steve McClaren is drumming into the players before Sunday – that this is a huge game for Newcastle and we have to give it everything we have.
If our players can do that we can win the game.
But we underestimate Sunderland in this game at out peril.