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Serie B playoffs postponed

Italian Serie B

Tiote not contemplating Toon relegation

Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote is confident the club will beat the drop this season and claimed the prospect of the Magpies playing in the Championship next season is unthinkable.

• Pardew: Rs game may be crucial
• Blog: Toon slip closer to bottom

Alan Pardew's side have found themselves embroiled in a late season battle against relegation following a dire campaign in the Premier League.

Picking up a potentially invaluable point against West Ham on Saturday, they still sit just three points above the drop zone. With just two points from the last possible 12, Newcastle have also conceded 10 goals in their last four games and relinquished a sizable goal difference advantage they held over their rivals.

Struggling to explain the catastrophic form that has seen the club slip from the top six to the bottom six in 12 months, Tiote now believes it is vital the club show fight in the final few weeks of the season.

"I think because everyone knows about Newcastle it's the biggest club in England," Tiote told the Journal. "I can't imagine Newcastle going into the Championship.

"When you look at the city, when you look at the fans, the stadium, it's full all the time. I can't imagine it. That's why we have to fight to stay in the Premier League."

Forced to face the possibility of demotion, Tiote was asked if the players are concerned by the potential outcome. He replied: "No I don't think so. We have confidence and we know it's going to be hard.

"I never think we're going to go down next season. We have to do everything to win and if we do so then everything will be fine. When we go on the pitch we try to win the game but sometimes we miss something, we have had games where we were so unlucky and we lost.

"I still think we have more quality than last season, but sometimes it's like that. I can't blame the manager or the players, it's everyone. Everyone has been affected, the best thing at the moment is to stick together and focus on the games."

Having attempted to manage commitments in the Europa League alongside an arduous Premier League schedule, Tiote believes ultimately Newcastle's persistent injury problems are to blame for the tumble down the table.

"This season has been difficult," he explained. "It's been different to last season because sometimes I was injured, not fit, I was up and down - maybe that's why we didn't perform well. When you look at the squad there were too many injuries. Yohan Cabaye was injured, myself or some other players. We didn't play maybe 10 games all together."


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