Cheik Tiote has been ribbing his Ivory Coast team-mates at Chelsea by insisting that Newcastle will finish above the Stamford Bridge outfit this season.
Tiote has revealed that he has been discussing club fortunes with Didier Drogba and Solomon Kalou and believes that Newcastle have what it takes to pinch an unlikely 4th place providing the team carry on what they’ve been doing all season.
Personally I hate little taunts like this as they always come back and bite you on the backside, and as fans we’ll feel the backlash from it, but the important thing to realise is that it’s just banter between three international colleagues. Just because they play for different teams there is nothing wrong with having a bit of banter!
Tiote said: “We discussed it. I told Salomon we’ll finish fourth, and Chelsea will finish seventh and he said ‘ok then, we’ll see’.”
He continued: “I suppose it shows the confidence I have in our team that I said it to him. If we keep working hard, everything’s possible and we can go for fourth. I think we’ve got a good chance.”
“We’re a point behind Chelsea and Arsenal and we have everyone back in the squad, Demba’s back and if we keep playing like we can I think we can stay in the top four.”
“This team isn’t just about two or three players, it’s about the whole squad. It doesn’t matter if one or two of those are missing, it’s down to the team to come through that.”
Tiote is likely to go straight back into the team against Wolves today after returning from African Cup of Nations duty, with Alan Pardew describing 25-year-old as one of his “iconic” players in midweek. It seems was though the respect works both ways though and that Tiote has a high opinion of Pardew.
“I like it because he’s a strong guy and a tough guy so, for me, that’s a good thing,” said Tiote when asked about his relationship with Alan Pardew.
“This is an exciting time for Newcastle and I want to show the fans that I’m back. If the team continues playing the way it has been, we have a great chance this season,” he concluded.
So high aims for Tiote then? Personally I’ll wait and see. I don’t expect us to finish fourth but I’ve long said that whilst we’re up there we may aswell give it a try and see what we can do.
It looks like Tiote is feeling like that also!