ALAN Pardew’s confident Cheik Tiote will spend less time in the sin bin next season – but Newcastle United’s manager doesn’t want to curb the midfielder’s enthusiasm.
Tough-tackling Tiote served three suspensions last term, and was left out of the club’s final two games to avoid another ban after picking up his 14th yellow card of the season.
And Pardew felt Tiote’s absence on the last day of the campaign ultimately cost Newcastle three Premier League places, believing West Bromwich Albion wouldn’t have fought back from three goals down to claim a draw had the 25-year-old been in his side.
Had it not been for his disciplinary problems, Tiote would have been a contender for player of the season such was his contribution to the cause in his first year in English football after last summer’s move from FC Twente.
“I think his record will be better, but he ain’t going to change,” Pardew said.
“We’re all going to be exasperated at some point when he gets a booking or smashes into someone, but we’ll all probably smile about it, because that’s him, and I wouldn’t want to change that.
“It’s a very, very difficult balancing act, but he’ll get it, he’ll get it.
“I’ve seen it before. Players come into the Premier League and want to prove that they’re big enough and strong enough and tough enough to take it on.
“It just goes too far a little bit, and I think that happened to Cheik.
“Whenever there was a tough guy on the pitch, I think he seemed to want to make a mark and put his stamp on the game.
“He hasn’t got to do that, he’s just got to play well. He’s a brilliant player, and a big player for us.
“Missing him was a real, real blow (in the last two games). There’s no way West Brom would have scored three goals in the second half with Cheik on the pitch – 100 per cent.”