CHEIK Tiote has told his Newcastle United to forget about Joey Barton – and just concentrate on taking three points from Queens Park Rangers.
Barton will be the centre of attention at Loftus Road tonight when he makes his debut for his new club.
The midfielder was controversially allowed to leave St James’s Park on a free transfer last month.
United’s decision not to offer the 28-year-old a new contract early in the summer, and his subsequent sale, angered fans.
And Newcastle’s loss is undoubtedly QPR’s gain given the contribution the midfielder has made on the field over the past two seasons.
But whatever the rights and wrongs of Barton’s exit, Tiote says United can’t be sidetracked by his presence in the home team.
And Ivory Coast international is focused on making it three wins in four Premier League games for Newcastle, who could climb into the top four with a victory.
“We need to focus on the next game,” Tiote said. “It’s football – everything happens in football.
“I’m sad Joey has gone, but that’s football. We need only to think about the team.
“We are playing against Joey, and I will be happy to see him. He’s a good man and a good friend. I don’t have a problem with him.
“But it’s important to win this game – we’ve started well, and we need to stay focused. We must do everything to win this game.”