Newcastle star Tiote fired up for much-improved season

Cheik Tiote
Cheik Tiote
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CHEIK Tiote says Newcastle United’s players are determined to wipe out the memory of last season’s relegation battle – by starting the new campaign on the front foot.

The injury-hit Magpies fought a grim battle to beat the drop last term.

Alan Pardew’s side only secured Premier League survival on the penultimate weekend of the season, which was only enlivened by their Europa League campaign.

Late in the season, Tiote – who could be involved against Portuguese side Rio Ave in Vila do Conde this evening – talked about the need for Newcastle’s players to look “themselves in the mirror” after the last ball was kicked.

And the midfielder feels he and his team-mates are mentally and physically ready for the challenges ahead after a summer of reflection on a last season’s underachievements.

“Every player knows what they have to do to improve,” said Tiote.

“We have thought about it over the summer. When you don’t have a good season, you need to think about what we didn’t do well.

“Everybody has thought about the team and themselves. We all know what went wrong.

“Now we’re focused, and we have to be ready. We all know what went wrong, but it is time to focus and be ready.

“We have forgotten about last season, but we can still learn from it.

“Now it is all about making sure we have a good season. It’s another season, and we must prepare in the right way for it.”

Pardew’s players arrived in Portugal on Wednesday, Tiote says the mood among the squad – who are based at Braga’s training ground – has been upbeat.

“It is nice to be back and starting work again,” he added.

“Everybody’s in good spirits. We’re working together, and we’ll do everything together before the first game.”