Pardew praises "stronger" Cabaye

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is convinced midfielder Yohan Cabaye is a stronger man for having come through a bout of depression earlier this season.

Football News: Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle

The 27-year-old revealed last week while away on international duty with France that he had struggled to cope after heading straight from his first campaign in British football to the Euro 2012 finals and then back into Barclays Premier League battle.

Cabaye took reassurance from books by Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal as he dealt with his issues, and Pardew revealed it had been a difficult time for the former Lille star.

He said: "Obviously we, and particularly myself, had to help him through that stage. It was difficult for him.

"Physically and mentally, he hadn't coped with anything as strenuous as last year. To fight for the Champions League and become a regular in the French side and the championships took it's toll on him.

"But he has certainly come out of the other side a stronger person. He is a fantastic character.

"He is one of our best players, if not our best player, and he is back to his very, very best and we are very, very lucky to have him."

Cabaye struggled to repeat the scintillating form of his first season on Tyneside during the early part of the new campaign, but has done just that since returning from a groin injury which handed him an impromptu mid-season break.

Asked if depression was an issue football as a sport needs to take seriously, Pardew replied: "You are talking about a football club which has lost Gary Speed just recently, so it's something we take very seriously.

"But in terms of players, you are an emotional person in an emotional game and of course, you have emotions off the pitch which all affect you and as an adult, you have to learn to deal with those.

"Cabaye will be a much stronger person for having come through that little period.

"It wasn't a deep depression, it was just a real fatigue in his system and therefore he had the rest and I think he is at this time as good a midfield player as there is in the Premier League."

Cabaye and his team-mates will return to domestic action in testing circumstances on Saturday when they head for champions Manchester City.

They will do so will sitting just six points clear of the relegation zone despite their recent improvement, and with injuries still taking their toll after Mathieu Debuchy, Davide Santon, Massadio Haidara and Cheick Tiote joined Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini on the casualty list.

Pardew hopes Haidara will be fit for Thursday night's Europa League quarter-final first-leg trip to Benfica after remarkably emerging from his X-rated confrontation with Wigan's Callum McManaman last time out without serious injury.

Newcastle's anger that the striker's horrific tackle went unpunished both at the time and retrospectively has been tempered somewhat by the news that there is no lasting damage, although the Magpies boss has renewed his calls for Premier League assistant referees to become full-time professionals.

He said: "I feel particularly aggrieved about the fact that we haven't got professional linesmen in the Premier League. With the money and the finance we have, they should be a team.

"I would be very interested to know how often Mark Halsey, the referee, has worked with the two linesmen on the day because I think they should have a team that travels around together and works together and therefore can trust each other 100 per cent, because that's where it fell down."

Meanwhile, Pardew welcomed managing director Derek Llambias' confirmation that the club would continue to invest in the squad after reporting a £1.4million profit for the last financial year, and applauded his staff and players for their role in keeping the club in the black.

He said: "I have played my part and my team has played its part in getting to the financial position the club is in, so it's pats on the back for them and pats on the back for my team as well, particularly my scouting team for the signings we have made."



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