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May 3, 2013

Ben Arfa slams rift claims

Hatem Ben Arfa has denied claims that there is a rift in the Newcastle dressing room, while also hitting back at questions over his own commitment to the cause.

Newcastle have endured a turbulent week after a report in the Daily Telegraph claimed there was a divided dressing room at St James' Park, with the club's French players allegedly taking issue with manager Alan Pardew's tactics. Those claims were vehemently denied by both the club and Pardew, with Ben Arfa revealing Newcastle are a squad of united nations.

"We're really in this to fight on the pitch - with each other," Ben Arfa told the Evening Chronicle. "It is a relegation battle, whether you're English, French, African or from anywhere. All we need to do is get the three points and make sure we confirm Premier League status next season. Everybody is together. We're all for this club and I'm friends with every player. Everybody knows the situation we are in, nobody has any doubts.

"We all know that we have to go out there and give it all. And give it everything for the future of this club. We are all in this together. I can completely confirm it is a good dressing room. Nobody is having doubts about anybody in there or each other. All we are doing is working hard in training and doing well on the pitch. We don't have any doubts about each other and we know we have to give our all and put our guts into it.

"Whether players are on the bench or start the game, or play five or 10 minutes or 90 minutes - we are all in it together and we're in it for this club. We are all working for the club. Not on players past or present or here or there. We're going for this club. And we're focusing on three points for this club to make sure we stay up."

The 26-year-old has also been the target of the press after a midweek article claimed he had worn a Paris Saint-Germain training kit while at a local health club. That forced the club to release a statement condemning the article as false and lamenting the Sun for not seeking to confirm the facts with the club.

Having also been linked with a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur this week, Ben Arfa was offended by the story.

"The impact of such an article portrays me as an unfaithful person," Ben Arfa explained. "But those people around me know me as somebody that is very loyal. I was terribly shocked by what they said. It was an offence towards me and my own pride and honour. I think people should check their sources before publishing anything.

"The club needs support at this difficult time rather than lies that try to destabilise us. My thoughts are really for the supporters and the fans who need to know the truth. I've always re-iterated my love for the club when needed. I want to re-iterate my love again, for the club, the staff and all of the players. I want to make that clear.

"It gives me a bad image. I was there to do extra work to make sure I'm even fitter for the next three matches. It really shocked me what has happened. It was a complete and utter lie. You can watch the CCTV footage from the gym to see that. It affected me in terms of my honour as a person. It showed me as unfaithful. Anybody who knows me, knows that I am a faithful person."

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