CHEIK Tiote says anything is possible for new-look Newcastle United this season – if the team can stay together on and off the pitch.
Tiote made his first appearance of pre-season in Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
And the midfielder and his team-mates flew to Germany today ahead of tomorrow’s Schalke 04 Cup game against Malaga in Gelsenkirchen.
Tiote has been heartened by United’s transfer activity - the club has signed six players so far this summer - and while he is reluctant to set a target, he is confident the team can again challenge for European football.
Asked what the aim was for the team, the 28-year-old said: “You never know in the Premier League, but are working hard and hope to have a good season.
“We just have to stay together on the pitch and try to win every game. We will see where we finish.”
Newcastle have already signed Remy Cabella, Siem de Jong, Jack Colback, Daryl Janmaat, Emmanuel Riviere and Ayoze Perez, who scored the team’s second-half winner at Hillsborough.
Tiote said: “The squad looks stronger than it was last year.
“Hopefully, we will do well on the pitch this season - better than last season.”
United manager Alan Pardew formally named Tiote and Siem de Jong as vice-captains to club skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
And the Ivory Coast international - who has often worn the captain’s armband in the absence of Coloccini - feels the extra responsibility will bring the best out of him.
“I think it’s good for me, and I hope I will help the team have a good season,” he said.
Newcastle’s players - who had returned from New Zealand just two days before the Wednesday game - had to battle fatigue as well as the Championship side.
Reflecting on the club’s third successive pre-season win, Tiote said: “We won, and it was a good game.
“We will continue to work hard for the new season.
“Lots of the players were really tired, but we stayed together on the pitch. It wasn’t easy.
“The young players also did well. It’s not easy for them for come into the first team. The manager was happy with them.”