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Muntari walks off after racist abuse

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Cabaye calls for improvement

Yohan Cabaye has admitted that Newcastle's performances must improve if they are to challenge in the top half of the Premier League this season.

Cabaye, 26, was a key player for the club last season as they finished fifth in the Premier League, narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot, but they are currently tenth in the standings.

Speaking to the club's official website, Cabaye said: "It has not been bad, but it has not been good enough either. We have played well but we can play better than we have done.

"Every game has been tough and we have had a lot of injuries and suspensions. It seems like every game we are missing a big player for one reason or another.

"That has made things difficult but we need to keep our confidence and keep working hard, because if we stop working then it will be very difficult to get up towards the top of the league again."

The Magpies host Michael Laudrup's Swansea at St James' Park on Saturday, with manager Alan Pardew already deeming it an important fixture in relation to his side's aspirations.

"This is a big game now," Pardew said. "We've put ourselves in a position where we don't want to be in mid-table. We want to threaten the top half of the Premier League. The West Ham result has knocked us back a bit. It is just about the next game and nothing else. There's no excuse. We should have won against West Ham."

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