Cheick Tiote was given the task of skippering the team on Saturday in the absence of usual Captain Fabricio Colocinni
Colo suffered a groin injury whilst away on International duty which forced him out of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool. This gave Alan Pardew the job of selecting a stand in Captain for the fixture, Yohan Cabaye was last seasons Vice Captain and did wear the armband on a number of occasions. But given Cabaye’s behavior during the last transfer window, it wouldn’t of been a great idea to ask Yohan to lead the lads out.
Instead Pardew opted for a player that took a few of us by surprise. Cheick Tiote Captained the side for the first time and I must say I think it was Tiote’s best performance for some time. The Ivorian midfielder has been criticized by many United fans who feel that his performances have dropped in the last year or so. Additionally Tiote has a well documented ill disciplined side to his game, usually resulting in the player collecting yellow cards.
Seemingly Cheick took the responsibility of Captain very seriously and led by example in difficult circumstances at the weekend. With Newcastle having to play over half the game with ten men we needed to play with endurance, discipline and courage. Especially with the caliber of opponent, like or dislike Liverpool there is no denying that they have been in great form this season and are in possession of one of the most feared front lines in the league.
Naturally the focus on Saturday was on Steven Gerrard, with the England Captain reaching his 100 goal milestone. Other than his penalty I don’t think Gerrard was overly special in the game, I think the tabloids and the pundits were a little OTT in their analysis of a player that is deemed as a bit of a national treasure. I felt one or two Newcastle performances were overlooked,Captain Tiote being one of them. I also feel Debuchy was outstanding and deserves and honorable mention.
Cheick led the team very well and the tough tackling midfielder revealed he only found out on Friday that he was stand in Captain for the match. Tiote told nufc.co.uk:
“The manager told me on Friday before training that I would be captain,” said Tiote.
“I just said ‘okay, I will take it’. I wasn’t expecting it so it came as a surprise.
“Maybe he chose me to be captain because I have good experience, I don’t know. But I am happy and hope I can continue to do it.
“I always do my best on the pitch and always try to help my teammates. It doesn’t matter whether I am captain or not but this made me very proud.
“When you are captain you have to push your teammates to believe in themselves and show them a good example.
“I think I am in the right position now. I have stopped taking red cards and yellow cards and that is good for me and the team.”
The player was obviously very humbled to get the vote of confidence from Pardew. Notice in his comments Tiote also mentioned he has consciously rectified the amount of cards he was collecting. Being a defensive midfielder he is required to be a tough tackler at times, but it’s a good sign that the player himself realizes that he has picked up way too many bookings during his Newcastle career.
It has now been confirmed that Colo will again be missing this weekend when we venture into enemy territory to the land where siblings get married to each other. In a game WE MUST NOT LOSE it looks as if Tiote may be required to wear the armband again in Colo’s absence. If he plays like he did on Saturday I will be more than happy. More of the same please Mr T.
How is everyone feeling ahead of Sunday? .