‘Newcastle are ready to tackle a top-10 finish’ – Tiote

HAIR-RAISING ... Newcastle's Cheick Tiote.
HAIR-RAISING ... Newcastle's Cheick Tiote.

CHEIK Tiote’s hoping Newcastle United will be a cut above the opposition between now and the end of the season – after a hair-raising few months.

Tiote had an eye-catching haircut after returning from African Cup of Nations duty.

And the midfielder is also catching the eye on the pitch, having returned to form for Newcastle, who face Capital One Cup winners Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow. Newcastle are looking to pull further clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone, having opened up a six-point gap after beating Southampton 4-2 at St James’s Park last weekend.

However, Swansea will be buoyed by last weekend’s Wembley cup win over Bradford City.

“Both teams have a lot of confidence,” Tiote said. “Swansea won the cup, and are confident at the moment. We won our last game, and are in good form. I think it’s going to be a tough game for both teams.”

Newcastle struggled for form in the first half of the season, which was punctuated by a series of injuries and suspensions which deprived Pardew of key players.

However, last month’s signings – and a shortening injury list – have seen United’s fortunes improve domestically and in Europe.

“That’s football – sometimes things don’t go so well,” said Tiote. “The situation was bad – you don’t want to see the club in a bad moment.

“We didn’t play well in the first six months, and after that, the club signed some new players, which was good.

“We have some fresh players in the team.

“We have 11 games left, and we want to win as many as possible. Anything is possible.”

Asked about his haircut, he added: “I wanted to change to something different.”