PAPISS Demba Cisse says there have been some home truths told at Newcastle United over the past few days.
And the truth has hurt Cisse and his team-mates.
Alan Pardew’s wounded side take on West Ham United tomorrow with the club’s Premier League status on the line. A win could be enough to secure another season of top-flight football.
However, if Newcastle play like they did against Liverpool last weekend – they were beaten 6-0 – points will be hard to come by in the last three games of a hugely-disappointing domestic campaign.
Pardew held an inquest into the defeat – United’s heaviest at St James’s Park since 1925 – early in the week.
And having cleared the air, Cisse feels the team is ready for the challenges ahead.
“I think it’s important we turn a page after the match against Liverpool,” Cisse told SportMail.
“We have to be truthful to ourselves. We didn’t perform well – we have to be honest about that.
“We have to go out on to the pitch and show what we can do.
“It’s our job. We have to meet the challenge of staying in the Premier League.
“Every single player wants to be with this club in the Premier League.
“My real concern is that we keep this club up. I’ll do everything I can.”
The week has been dominated by talk of player unrest at the club, though Newcastle have vigorously denied there is a split behind the scenes. United issued a statement quoting Cisse, midfielder Cheik Tiote and managing director Derek Llambias.
Captain Fabricio Coloccini – set to return from injury at Upton Park – and stand-in skipper Yohan Cabaye were not quoted.
Cisse, for his part, insists there remains a togetherness in the dressing room, where any issues are talked over by Pardew’s squad.
The 27-year-old maintains, as professionals, there is an “obligation” on every player to pull together for the sake of the club.
“It’s an obligation for us to be together – we’re professionals,” added Cisse. “We know what it means to be together.
“If we’re not, for sure we won’t be able to move forward. We’re together. We talk to each other.
“If we have problems, we talk, and say what we need to say.”
West Ham, captained by ex-Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan, have proved formidable opposition on their own turf this season.
“In our minds, we’re motivated, and ready to go out there and get a result,” said Cisse. “We are 100 per cent ready.
“We want to be playing in the Premier League next season – that’s our target. That’s objective of the squad and all the staff.
“Obviously, for me personally, my objective is to go out and make sure we keep this team up.”
Pardew’s staff have given the players a detailed briefing on West Ham, whose attack will be led by Andy Carroll, his predecessor as the club’s No9.
“There are a couple of former players there. I don’t know them personally, but I’ve heard a lot about them,” added Cisse.
“We’ll go there and do what is best for the club and the fans.
“Each team has its own style. We’ve watched a lot of videos.
“We’ve analysed the way they’re going to play, but we’re going to go out there and play our own game.”