YOHAN Cabaye says he has silenced the critics in France who questioned his move to Newcastle United.
The midfielder surprised the media in his home country when he decided to quit Lille for Tyneside.
Cabaye had been expected to join a club competiting in Europe.
However, the France international – who was outstanding in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Stoke City, when he scored twice and set up a goal for Papiss Demba Cisse – feels his decision has been vindicted.
Newcastle – who take on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium tomorrow – are fourth in the Premier League with four games left to play.
Champions League football could be back at the Sports Direct Arena next season after an absence of 10 years if Alan Pardew’s side can stay there, and Chelsea lose to Bayern Munich in this year’s final.
Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, United are guaranteed at least a sixth-placed finish, which in itself represents a significant improvement on last season, when they club ended the campaign in the bottom half of the table.
Cabaye won the double in France last year with Lille, and the 26-year-old admits his move to the Sports Direct Arena baffled French football writers.
Cabaye said: “When I left Lille to come and play for Newcastle, the French journalists said ‘why have you left Lille to play for a team which finished 12th in the league?’
“That’s why I’m happy. These people, who talked like that, now say I made a good choice!”
Cabaye scored two goals and set up another for Papiss Demba Cisse in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Stoke City, and performance in the heart of Pardew’s midfield underlined his importance to the club’s hopes of finishing in the top four.
Asked about United’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, Cabaye said: “Why not? We have four games left, and we’re in a good position.
“It was important to win the (Stoke) game. We can’t talk about the Champions League until after Man City at home, and Everton away.
“The team was happy after the game. We just want to keep working, and to get draws or wins from our games.
“We want to be focused match by match. That’s the most important thing. There are a lot of matches – and 12 points to play for.”
Pardew’s attack-minded team have evoked memories of the football played in Kevin Keegan’s first spell as manager when Cabaye was growing up in Torcoing, a city in northern France.
Back then his countryman David Ginola, on Tyneside for a talk-in tonight, was in his pomp.
“I was too young, but I just remember Ginola and when they fought with Manchester United for the title,” said Cabaye. “They beat Man United 5-0 – I remember this game, and a few goals from Ginola.”
It was a goal from Cabaye, his first for the club, which decided a tight contest between United and Wigan at the Sports Direct Arena in December.
While Cabaye would love to add to the five goals he has scored for the club at the DW Stadium, but the result is all-important.
“I hope (to score), but if someone else scores, I will be happy,” he said. “The most important thing is the team spirit, and to fight for our team-mates.”
Meanwhile, Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan have lost their battle to be fit for Newcastle United’s visit to Wigan Athletic tomorrow.
But manager Alan Pardew’s confident the pair will be in contention for next Wednesday’s clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Marveaux is back up and running after recovering from the groin and hip injuries he suffered last November, while his fellow winger Obertan has been sidelined for the past month with an ankle problem.
“I’m not going to take Obertan or Marveaux (to Wigan),” said Pardew. “They still need to do a bit more work. They have only been on the training ground three or four days,” Pardew said.