CHEIK Tiote will give Moussa Sissoko a licence to thrill at Newcastle United.
That’s the verdict of manager Alan Pardew after watching the pair start their first game together.
Tiote returned to Pardew’s starting XI in the goalless draw against Metalist Kharkiv last week.
And Pardew will be tempted to play tough-tackling Tiote – and man-of-the-moment Sissoko – in the return leg of the Europa League Round of 32 tie in the Ukraine on Thursday night.
A win – or score draw – will take United through into the next stage of the competition.
Pardew felt his first-leg team had a balance, with Tiote – who was protecting the back four – enabling Sissoko to link up with lone striker Papiss Demba Cisse, who had two goals disallowed for offside, and almost claimed a win with an injury-time header.
“He made a few tackles and made his presence known – that’s what we expect from Cheik,” Pardew said.
“We had a nice balance in there, and Moussa was terrific. You have to say that he’s given us a new dimension. We just didn’t get the break which we deserved.”
Tiote had been away for the African Nations Cup, where his country, the Ivory Coast, were knocked out by eventual winners Nigeria. Meanwhile, after the first-leg at St James’s Park, Pardew said the injustice of Newcastle’s two offside goals – the first of which was clearly onside – would put “fire in the bellies” of his players at the 40,000-capacity Metalist Stadium, one of the host venues for Euro 2012.
“I was incensed – we scored two absolutely onside goals,” added Pardew, whose side face Southampton at St James’s Park on Sunday in the Premier League.
“I think it was how we all felt. In these ties that could be a big difference. I’ll take one wrong, but two? That was a big blow.
“We didn’t do too much wrong on the night. It was as good as we played, and against a very strong side.
“I was really pleased with the performance, but in games like that you can’t get key decisions like that wrong, and certainly not two.
“But we have the clean sheet to take over there.
“A score draw will take us through. So there’s some benefit in that, but I would have liked to win the game.”