Why Mohamed Diame does NOT want to go back to Wembley with Newcastle
Mohamed Diame's been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
And once is enough.
Diame does NOT want to go to Wembley in the Championship play-offs.
The Newcastle United midfielder scored the goal that took Hull City up last season.
But the 29-year-old is keen to take a more direct route to the Premier League with his new club.
And Diame scored a superb goal in Wednesday night’s 2-0 win over his former club Wigan Athletic.
The result at the DW Stadium stretched the gap between the league leaders and third-placed Reading to nine points.
Diame, preparing for tomorrow’s game against Burton Albion, is keen to mind the gap.
“Definitely, that is very important,” said the Senegal international.
“I know what it’s like to play in the play-offs, and I don’t want to play in it again.
“So we want to secure automatic promotion as soon as possible.”
The Wigan result also took the club above Brighton and Hove Albion, who had lead the division for 24 hours following their win over Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night.
“I’m very pleased we’re back top,” said Diame.
“We saw that Brighton had done well, so it was very important we won.
“We did it so I’m very happy.”
Diame – who spent three years at the DW Stadium – didn’t celebrate his strike against struggling Wigan.
However, the club’s 4,500-strong travelling support certainly celebrated the goal.
Diame ran from a deep position, exchanged passes with Isaac Hayden on the edge of the box and side-footed the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
“I’ve got a lot of respect of this club, for this team,” said the 29-year-old.
“It was my first club in the Premier League, and I had three good years here, so I really wish them the best.
“I hope they’re going to stay up.”
Diame is making a habit of scoring against his former clubs, having netted in last month’s EFL Cup defeat to Hull at the KCOM Stadium.
“I don’t know why I keep scoring against my former clubs at their grounds,” he said.
“I said before that it would be good if we could play against West Ham next week.
“But this will not happen yet, and I am very happy to score again. I hope more will come.”
Diame gave United a first-half lead, but Wigan fought back strongly after the break.
Substitute Christian Atsu made certain of the points with a late strike.
“They put us under some pressure, and we knew that when we were winning only 1-0 they were going to come back after half time and push,” said Diame.
“Even in this situation we kept our confidence, and Atsu came on and gave us this run and the legs to score the second one and make it a little bit more comfortable.”
Diame almost connected with the cross that led to Atsu’s goal.
“I could have connected, but I missed the ball and before the Wigan players Christian was there,” he said.
“It’s good for us, and now we can get ready for the next one.”
Burton at the Pirelli Stadium are next up.
“I haven’t played there before – it’s going to be my first time,” said Diame.
“We’re just going to go there and try to bring back the three points.”