CHEIK Tiote is set to lead Newcastle United into battle against Sunderland – after showing his leadership qualities against Liverpool.
The midfielder skippered Alan Pardew’s side in Saturday’s 2-2 draw in the absence of the injured Fabricio Coloccini.
Pardew opted to hand the captain’s armband to Tiote instead of goalscorer Yohan Cabaye.
With Liverpool led by England skipper Steven Gerrard, Pardew felt there were two “great” captains on the field at St James’s Park.
A disciplined Tiote arguably put his best performance in a black and white shirt this year.
“Cheik, by far, was our best player,” Pardew said “He was brilliant. We need him at that level.
“Losing Colo is like Liverpool losing Gerrard. It’s a huge blow for us. We all know that. The press was full of how we were going to miss him and that’s quite right.
“He’s that important but Cheik replaced him with all those ingredients Colo has.
“I thought that might be what we need – playing by example.
“Cheik played by example – the Cheik of old.”
Cabaye led United during Coloccini’s absences last season, but Pardew told the midfielder he would not be getting the armband because of his refusal to play in the opening two games.
“I told him he wasn’t captain. Was he upset? No. He accepted it and played great. I’m pleased for him.”