MASSADIO Haidara says the only way is up for Newcastle United after the club’s FA Cup defeat, writes Miles Starforth.
Haidara was in the Newcastle side which was beaten by Cardiff City in last weekend’s tie at St James’s Park.
And the disappointing loss left United – who have exited the competition at the third-round stage three times in the last four years – with only the Premier League to focus on.
Alan Pardew’s side take on Manchester City at St James’s Park on Sunday looking to end a two-game Premier League losing streak.
The club’s defeats to West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal saw Newcastle drop down to eighth place – the club was sixth after the Boxing Day win over Stoke City – but left-back Haidara is confident United can pressure the teams above them.
“Now we’re out of both cup competitions we can go 100 per cent in the Premier League to try to finish as high up as we can,” Haidara said.
“We feel with the team and squad we have go, we have got enough quality to aspire for a top-six finish.
“We’ve done well in the first half of the season. Now we need to go out and do the same in the second half of the season.
“We have to work together and stay United. That’s what we need to grasp.”
Newcastle took the lead against Cardiff through a Papiss Demba Cisse goal, but they lost momentum after going ahead and visiting substitutes Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell netted to give Ole Gunnar Solksjaer a winning start to his tenure.
“We’re really disappointed,” said Haidara, handed only his second start of an injury-hit campaign against Cardiff.
“We could have gone through. We had a great chance.
“We had the ambition to get through to the next round.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t go through, and the whole team is very upset.
“We went 1-0 up. We controlled the game, then Cardiff came back at us and got the two goals. It was really tough for us on the whole, as we largely controlled the game up to then.
“We tried to get back into it, but Cardiff put up a really good defence. We just couldn’t get that goal.”
Meanwhile, United will only make a move in this month’s transfer window if the price is right.
The club has published the minutes of Monday’s Fans Forum, which saw senior officials take questions from supporters’ representatives.
United’s hierarchy were asked about the club’s plans for this month’s transfer window.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is keen for a new striker to bolster his options up front – Borussia Monchengladbach’s Luuk de Jong is a potential target – while Montpellier’s attacking midfielder Remy Cabella has also been linked with the club.
However, the board has downplayed a report that there could be up to four arrivals at St James’s Park.
United’s response to the question read: “The board explained its view was that the current squad is stronger than it has been for some time.
“It was stated that if the right player became available for the right price, perhaps the club would bring someone into the squad. If not, it would not add to it.”