Newcastle United have finally replaced Yohan Cabaye – two years after his departure.
That’s the verdict of Moussa Sissoko after Jonjo Shelvey inspired the club to a 1-0 win over West Brom.
When we lost Yohan, the club did not bring in another player like him.
New signing Shelvey created Aleksandar Mitrovic’s winning goal with a superb defence-splitting pass.
The result lifted Newcastle out of the Premier League’s relegation zone and into 17th place ahead of Saturday’s game against champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Sissoko’s France team-mate Cabaye, now reunited with Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace, left United for Paris Saint-Germain in January 2014
And in Shelvey, Sissoko believes Newcastle again have a fiercely-competitive player possessing a match-winning range of passing.
Asked if United had now replaced Cabaye, Sissoko said: “Yes, I really believe that.
“He is the replacement two years after. Jonjo, like Yohan is a very good player.
“He sees the game so easily and delivers great balls. For me, he is the same style as Yohan and the same qualities so for me, yes, he is an excellent signing for us.
“He has now played four games for us and you can see what he brings to the team. It has to be good for us.
“Now we have to grow with him, make sure we make the most of his vision and his range of passing to pick up as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.”
Sissoko feels Shelvey, signed from Swansea City last month for £12million, fills a “gap” in the squad.
“It is true. When we lost Yohan, the club did not bring in another player like him,” said the 26-year-old.
“There was a gap. We still had good players like Cheick (Tiote) and Jack (Colback), but they are very different styles. They were not like Yohan.
“With Jonjo, he is the perfect style for us because he fits in so well. Players like myself and Gigi (Georginio Wijnaldum) like to go forward and he can pick us out so easily.
“It makes such a difference and now we must feed off him.
“It worked against West Brom with Jonjo spotting Mitro and it will happen again.
“He has already become a very important member of this team because he is different.
“Now we must try to pick up an away result at Chelsea.
“That’s now three good home performances in a row.
“Away from home, sometimes we have played well, but lost.”
“Of course, I am not talking about Everton which was bad, but now we have to be consistent and show what we are capable of not just at home but away from home too.”
Winger Andros Townsend, another £12million January signing, made his home debut against West Brom.
Sissoko added: “The players who have come in will help us stay up. The club has brought in some very good players, We now have a good team.
“I believe for the rest of the season, we can look at it positively and we can play some good football and win some games.
“We deserved to beat West Brom so we are very happy. This week will feel much better for us than last week after Everton. They were some hard days for us.
“But now we have a tough game coming up against Chelsea on Saturday, We have not picked up results away from home.
“But now we believe we can go there and get something.”