Rafa Explains Why This Player Is Not A Real Number 10

Mo Diame is almost certain to start for Newcastle against Manchester United at home on Sunday afternoon in what is another vital game for Newcastle.

Mo has been in some of his best form for a long time in the last couple of months, and he is reviving his Newcastle career with some top performances in central midfield.

With Mikel Merino coming back into full fitness after his back injury there is now some real competition in the center of the park between Diame, Merino, Hayden, and Shelvey.

Mo Diame – playing well in midfield

Mo was asked if this is the best form of his short Newcastle career and this is what he had to say, as reported in the Chronicle:

“Since I arrived, yes.”  “I have been working hard to get back to the player I was at West Ham, Wigan, and Hull.”

“It has been difficult since I have been here but I think I am in a good way. I need to make sure I keep playing well week in, week out.”

“I always say it is easier to be facing the game.”

“When you play further forward, you are always facing your own goal and it is more difficult.”

“We are dropping points at home and it is causing a lot of frustration.”

“You can talk about a lot of things but it has happened again and again, and it needs to stop because when we are playing at home it should be a fortress.”

“When we are playing at home we need to get the points we need.”

Mo did not have a particularly good season last season when he was used either on the wing or in the number 10 position, but Rafa is using him more as a holding midfielder this season, and it is paying off.

This is what the manager has said about the former Senegal International midfielder:

“He’s not a proper No 10 like some people think, a small one that can turn.”

“He has more physicality and he was playing as a midfielder in the Championship. He was more a No 10. He did well. I think he scored nine goals.”

“In the Premier League he’s more of a midfielder. When he was playing in Spain he was playing as a holding midfielder.”

“I knew that. In this game, we needed him there, and he did well because he knows the role.”

Mo Diame played 41 games for us last season, and he scored 6 goals.

This season he has 21 appearances and 2 goals, but he wants to add more goals to his game.

And he did score a good goal at Crystal Palace on Sunday and one at West Ham late last year.

It’s excellent we have Mo playing so well, but we need other players to step up to the plate now to help Newcastle avoid relegation.

Rafa has talked about how good things can be – if only we can survive the drop in May.

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9 comments so far

  • c-dog

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #1

    Big Mo leading by example

  • Jib

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #2

    To be fair to the guy
    He said quite a while ago
    that he had more to offer.

  • Mag52

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    Comment #3

    Sounds like he’s a round peg in the right shape of hole.
    We’ll need a special one from Mo at the weekend.

  • c-dog

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:20 AM

    Comment #4

    With about 200 PL appearances he is one of most experienced PL players. And we need that experience with all the youth in our squad. He’s just after Lascelles for our player of the season so far. 2/2.5 months of good performances. Only lascelles has performed more. No other players are even close to these guys.

  • Geremi's Prosthetic Leg Fund

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:20 AM

    Comment #5

    Hope we pack the midfield on Sunday. Shelvey playing deep, Diame holding but looking to burst forward when he wins it, and Merino playing a deep 10 role. We need to overrun Man U and harry Pogba and Sanchez into playing as deep as we can, they don’t track that well especially Pogba so we could find ourselves breaking in numbers done right.

    Slimani coming in should prove much more of a handful for their CBs than Gayle or Joselu, meaning we can get away with not having Perez tethered to him and leaving that space in the middle.

  • c-dog

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    Comment #6

    Packing the midfield is what I’d like to see this weekend as well. With our wingers the main support for a lone front man. Maybe not the right game to throw slimani in so go with Josiére.

  • Jib

    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:27 AM

    Comment #7

    I wonder if Rafa is tempted to
    man to man the slippery Chilean
    with one of our speed merchants ?

  • OneAlanShearer

    Feb 8, 2018 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #8

    Jib. I can see yedlin being glued to Sanchez. However yedlin will have to up his defensive game for that to work.i can see rafa going 5 at the back using yedlin and Kenedy as wing backs.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Feb 8, 2018 at 9:47 AM

    Comment #9

    C – I’d be very surprised if Slimani doesn’t start.

    I’d be tempted to play this side with yedlin and Kenedy supplying bullets for Slimani

    Dubravka- we will need his distribution if we are going to play on the break.

    Yedlin Lascelles Lejeune dummett Kenedy
    Shelvey Hayden Diame

    I hope we can earn something from this match every point is vital. Goal difference as well. I can’t see it being a very open game. More like the city game. Soak it up and hope to get something late on.. with merino, Murphy and atsu weighing in.


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