Tiote: Newcastle team spirit is crucial

Cheick Tiote believes keeping the same team spirit Newcastle have shown over the first nine games of the season will be crucial.

His first goal for the club...

The Magpies have been the surprise package of the campaign so far, shrugging off the loss of key players in the transfer window to win five and draw four of their opening nine games, amassing an impressive 19 points.

This evening they will bid to keep their run going when they travel to Staffordshire to take on Stoke. Newcastle have never won at the Britannia Stadium and last season were thumped 4-0 in the corresponding fixture.

Midfielder Tiote knows they have their work cut out if they are to make it back-to-back wins after last weekend's 1-0 victory over Wigan, but he is confident the Magpies can maintain their run if they stick together.

The Ivory Coast international said: "Stoke is a tough game for us and it will be a bit like the Wigan game. We have to do what we did in the Wigan game and keep going even though they will make it tough, and when we get a chance we have to take it.

"We want to be remembered as a team. And if we want to push for the top half of the league we have to stay together as a unit.

"Finishing in the top five or six is only achieved by having a team spirit. We have spoken about in the dressing room and feel we can achieve a good position this season."

Tiote's involvement at Stoke is still doubtful because of the knee injury he picked up against Wigan that forced him to miss the Carling Cup defeat by Blackburn on Wednesday, Newcastle's first loss of the season.

Boss Alan Pardew has named the same side for five successive Premier League matches but, if Tiote does not make it, he has a ready-made replacement in Danny Guthrie, who excelled on a rare start at Ewood Park.

"I don't think Cheik could have done much more than Danny Guthrie on the night, he was brilliant," added Pardew.

"To come into the team without having featured and score a wonder goal too, hats off to him."



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