YOHAN Cabaye is dreaming of a return to the Champions League with Newcastle United.
Cabaye starred for former club Lille in the competition and the influential midfielder is eager for more action in the competition.
Yesterday’s win over Bolton took Alan Pardew’s side level with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, and two points ahead of Chelsea.
While reluctant to look beyond his side’s next game, against Stoke City at the Sports Direct Arena on April 21, the 26-year-old acknowledges the club is again in the running for a top-four finish with five games left to play.
Asked about his experiences in the Champions League, Cabaye said: “It’s a very good feeling.
“We aren’t in the Champions League places yet, though. We just have to stay focused on our training.
“If our mentality stays the same, why not? We have to go match by match. The next one is against Stoke, and then Wigan, then Chelsea. That’s all we can do.”
A Europa League place would still be a big achievement for Newcastle, and if Liverpool beat Everton in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final, a sixth-placed finish would guarantee European football.
“All of the Newcastle players will be like Liverpool fans on Saturday,” added Cabaye. “We’re all going to support Liverpool, but even if Everton get to the final, no problem. We still have five games, and we can still do the best for the fans to get the results we need.”
Reflecting on the Bolton game, which was decided by a superb goal from Hatem Ben Arfa and another strike from Papiss Cisse, Cabaye said: “It was a very important result.
“We knew it would be difficult to play against Bolton, but we also knew that one goal would be enough to win the game.
“Fortunately, we have Hatem in the team. It was so important we won as Tottenham lost at home (to Norwich City).”
Ben Arfa’s scored a stunning individual goal, taking the ball from Cabaye before running half the length of the pitch and beating Adam Bogdan.
He left three Bolton players in his wake, and even Cabaye didn’t know what was to come next after he rolled the ball to his team-mate.
“No, it was impossible to predict that,” he said. “But for Bolton, it proved impossible to stop Hatem. He’s really, really fit now. I hope he stays like that in the next five games. He was just too quick for Bolton. It was amazing from him.”
The goal lit up a disjointed display by Newcastle after a drab, joyless opening 45 minutes.
The start of the second period saw the home side pinned back inside their own half after Mike Williamson had been penalised for a foul on Darren Pratley.
Newcastle dealt with the initial free-kick, but simply could not clear their lines, and Tim Krul had to make a fine block after Chris Eagles had controlled a bouncing ball inside the box, side-stepped Coloccini and gone for goal left-footed.
The Holland international was then mightily relieved to see Martin Petrov’s 53rd-minute cross elude Pratley after it had flown past him inside his six-yard box.
Mark Davies was unable to make the most of Kevin Davies’ 64th-minute cross to allow Krul to block his scuffed shot, before Magpies boss Alan Pardew opted to make a further change.
He withdrew Demba Ba, who was not best pleased, and replaced him with Ameobi, but it was Ben Arfa who sent a 68th-minute free-kick wide of Bogdan’s left post.
But the France international was not finished, and won the game with his run and finish which oozed class 17 minutes from time.
The game was over 10 minutes later when Ameobi sent a cross to the far post where Cisse tapped home his now customary goal.
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa (Ryan Taylor 85), Cabaye, Perch (Ferguson 46), Gutierrez, Ba (Shola Ameobi 64), Cisse. Subs Not Used: Elliot, Abeid, Gosling, Tavernier. Booked: Gutierrez. Goals: Ben Arfa 73, Cisse 83.
Bolton: Bogdan, Ricketts, Ream, Wheater, Steinsson, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Pratley (Klasnic 82), Kevin Davies (Ngog 78), Petrov, Eagles (Miyaichi 78). Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Knight, Sordell. Booked: Reo-Coker.
Att: 52, 264 Ref: Mike Jones (Cheshire).