NEWCASTLE United have hit back at reports of dressing-room unrest at St James’s Park.
There has been talk of disharmony in Alan Pardew’s squad in the wake of last weekend’s 6-0 thumping from Liverpool.
But the Magpies have strongly denied there is a potentially-damaging split in the team, which is deep in relegation trouble with three Premier League games left to play.
A statement issued last night quoted managing director Derek Llambias, striker Papiss Cisse and midfielder Cheik Tiote.
Pardew, captain Fabricio Coloccini and stand-in skipper Yohan Cabaye are not quoted.
Frenchman Cabaye has not spoken to the media in recent weeks.
Llambias led the attack on the stories over a divided dressing room, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror.
Telegraph journalists have since been banned from attending games at St James’s Park and the club’s Press conferences.
“The club is determined to turn things around, and everyone is working together to secure that goal,” said Llambias.
“It is not helpful when people try and distract the team and the manager with false rumours.”
Leading marksman Cisse added: “Every player is together.
“We are totally focused on Saturday’s game at West Ham, and the two games after that.
“We have a strong bond and we want the best for our club, our manager and our wonderful fans.
“We are not happy about recent results. Nobody is happy when they lose, but this has only made us stronger as a group and we will come through this together. There is no divide in the team.”
And Tiote commented: “We want to let the fans know that all of the players are committed and we are in this together.
“We will fight to get out of this problem, and we know our fans will help us to do that. They are incredible.”
Newcastle – facing former boss Sam Allardyce this weekend – are 17th in the Premier League, five points above third-bottom Wigan, who have a game in hand.
Meanwhile, defender Steven Taylor is determined that history does not repeat itself.
Taylor was in the Newcastle side relegated from the top flight four years ago.
And the 27-year-old feels the class of 2013 are stronger than that team as they face a crucial three-game run-in, with safety on the line. “We’ve got the quality here – we have everything we need,” Taylor said.
“We’re in a stronger situation than we were four years ago. I’ve said it before, we are good enough, we just need a break.
“This week is one of the most important for a long time. We go to West Ham, and we’re going looking for a win. The gaffer has touched on it. With three games to go, we know we need at least three points.”