MOUSSA Sissoko’s determined to repay Newcastle United’s faith in him – starting at Villa Park.
The midfielder joined the club late last week after a decade at French club Toulouse.
And Sissoko – Newcastle’s fifth, and arguably most significant, transfer-window signing – hopes to make his debut against Aston Villa tomorrow night.
The 23-year-old insists he’s ready to be pitched into United’s relegation battle after being welcomed on Tyneside by supporters looking forward to seeing him hit the ground running.
“I’m really pleased to see the fans here, and to hear of their expectations,” Sissoko told SportMail.
“I’m glad they are looking forward to meeting me. I’m very happy, but I now need to get out there and show them that they have made the right choice in signing me.
“Of course, I want the supporters to be proud of me as a signing, and that starts tomorrow at Aston Villa.
“I want to get straight down to playing now, and get to know the players here. Obviously. I played with Toulouse right up until the end of my tenure there, so I’ve never stopped.
“I’m ready to get out on the pitch now. That will start straight away with training, so I can get out on the pitch and start playing well together.”
Newcastle had been looking to bring Sissoko to St James’s Park in the summer, but the club’s plight – and the France international’s keenness to join the club – saw the move pushed through this month.
“I really, really wanted to be here in January – I wanted to come now,” added Sissoko, who cost a reported £1.8m.
“Obviously, not everything depended on myself – there were a lot of other things that had to be sorted out.
“My agent and I discussed it and negotiated. We wanted to take the best decision. Now I’m here, it’s great for me and great for the club as well.
“I spent 10 years with Toulouse, and they were 10 great years. Now this is a new chapter for me.
“I’m going to try to do at least as well as I did at Toulouse.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to come here and play in the Premier League. I think I can succeed here.
“I’m very fortunate to be playing in the Premier League, so it’s up to me to go out and show myself and show what I can do.”
Sissoko, a powerful box-to-box player, is as comfortable winning the ball as making a forward run and pass.
And Sissoko, an international team-mate of United trio Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, is confident his game will suit Newcastle – and the Premier League.
“I hope my hard-working attributes help the team,” he said.
“I’ve always worked hard. It hasn’t always been easy for me, but I have always worked really hard to achieve what I’ve wanted. Now everything’s starting to come true.
“Coming here to Newcastle is part of that dream coming true. I hope that my dreams of success with them do the same.”
Sissoko talked of winning silverware at United over the course of his six and a half year contract at his unveiling, but that’s a longer-term goal, with top-flight survival the immediate aim.
With Villa just a point behind 16th-placed Newcastle, the stakes are high tomorrow night at the stadium where the club meekly relinquished its Premier League status in May 2009.
“This is a massive match for us,” said Sissoko, who trained over the weekend with his new team-mates.
“Villa are very close to us, so if we can win, we can make that gap between themselves and us a bit bigger. It’s a match we can’t afford to lose.
“Hopefully, it will be a fantastic match that we come away with three points.”