CHEIK Tiote has told his Newcastle United team-mates they must be prepared to “die” on the pitch in tomorrow’s Tyne-Wear derby.
The midfielder will line up in the centre of the park against fellow tough tackler Lee Cattermole in what could be the key area of the pitch.
Fresh from the Sunderland skipper insisting he won’t shirk a challenge, Tiote insists he will be going all out to ensure his team continue their good run against their fierce rivals.
He said: “We have to win every tackle.
“We have to die on the pitch. That’s what we have to do to win the game.
“If you get a yellow card, you get one. It can’t stop me from playing the game in my style. But I have to work well for the team.”
Tiote returned to the Newcastle team last weekend in the 2-2 draw against Wolves after almost eight weeks away on international duty with Ivory Coast.
He had another mammoth trip in midweek to play a friendly for his country, but insists he is raring to go tomorrow.
Having immersed himself in the history of the fixture, he knows exactly what the fixture means.
“I’m back and ready,” said Tiote.
“Everybody knows this game is so important for the fans, the manager – everyone.
“I think we have to stay focused. We have to think about tomorrow and nothing else. The supporters have reminded me what this game means.
“But the history? Well I know about it, it’s something I have learned since being here.”