NEWCASTLE United’s Moussa Sissoko has a simple message for his team-mates and the club’s frustrated fans: “Let’s stay together!”
Supporters are still reeling from Saturday’s 5-0 hammering at at the Etihad Stadium.
Newcastle were taken apart by Premier League champions Manchester City, who won a penalty, converted by Sergio Aguero, with just 28 seconds on the clock.
Midfielder Sissoko says he and his colleagues must stick together in the wake of the defeat – and he has pleaded with the club’s fans to stay with the team.
And the 25-year-old has promised a reaction against relegation-threatened Aston Villa at St James’s Park on Saturday.
“The fans have been behind us all season – when we’ve won and when we’ve lost,” Sissoko said.
“We have to say thank you and do the best every game. We try to win the next game for us and for the fans.
“We have to stay together. To lose 5-0 is hard, but if we want to do something for the rest of the season we have to stay together.
“We have to work hard and be ready for Saturday.”
Sissoko – who put a question mark over his future last month when he said he wanted to play in the Champions League – has arguably been Newcastle’s most influential player this season.
When he has played well this season, United have picked up points, but the France international says he doesn’t feel an extra weight of responsibility on his shoulders.
Sissoko said: “It’s a team. I have a responsibility to the team, and I will try to do my best.
“I can play well and I can play bad sometimes, but as a team we try to play well together. We’ll see in the next game.”
Sissoko scored in Newcastle’s 2-0 Capital One Cup win at the Etihad Stadium in late October.
But United’s evening quickly unravelled, and the team never recovered from the early penalty, conceded by midfielder Vurnon Anita for a trip on Edin Dzeko.
Head coach John Carver yesterday conducted a debrief of his players at the club’s Benton training ground.
“We didn’t play well,” said Sissoko. “We conceded a penalty too early.
“When they scored after 20 seconds, it’s hard to do something.
“Now we have to learn about this game and train very hard and be ready for the next game.
“The plan was to stay solid and compact and try to score one goal if we can, but we conceded a goal too early.
“Everybody knows we didn’t play well. We have to learn about this game and try to win the next game.
“We have to be ready and stay focused. It’s a massive game for everybody and we have to get the three points.”