YOHAN Cabaye says the whole is greater than the sum of the parts at Newcastle United.
The midfielder was an influential figure in the club’s fine season, which ended with a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League.
Cabaye left Lille last summer looking for a new challenge after helping the club to the French double.
His decision to join Newcastle was questioned in France, where he had been expected to sign for a club competing in the Champions League.
However, Cabaye hasn’t looked back since crossing the Channel.
And the 26-year-old, in Laurent Blanc’s preliminary Euro 2012 squad, has no regrets about joining United, where he bought into the team ethos and work ethic fostered by manager Alan Pardew and his predecessor Chris Hughton.
“Finishing fifth was beyond the expectations of the club and fans,” said Cabaye.
“What makes us strong is that at no time a player has felt bigger than the team.
“We all worked for our team-mates. For my part, I managed to adapt myself quickly.
“We had a long unbeatean run at the start of the season, which helped me gain confidence.”
Cabaye is part of a growing group of French and Francophone players, among them Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux and Papiss Demba Cisse.
And fitting into to United’s multi-national and multi-cultural dressing room was easy.
“There are many French and African players here, as at Arsenal, so there isn’t a language barrier, which makes things easier,” added Cabaye, signed for a cut-price £4.3m after being identifield by the club’s chief scout, Graham Carr.
“We get along well with everyone – there really is a good atmosphere in this group. We do not exclude anyone.”
Cabaye is a certainty to make the Blanc’s final squad for the summer’s European Championships, where France meet England in the group stage.
And he credits his move to the Premier League with helping his international career.
“Newcastle was the only club with which negotiations were initiated,” he went on.
“This was the only real offer I received, but I did not go there by default.
“After the title and the Cup victory in France, I think collectively and individually it was not possible to do more.”