MOUSSA Sissoko says he doesn’t care where he plays for Newcastle United – so long as he’s in the starting XI.
The midfielder put in his best performance of the season so far in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.
And Sissoko hopes United can dish out more capital punishment to a top-four London club on Sunday, when they take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
The 24-year-old has been used as a wide player by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew in the club’s last two games.
And Pardew said Sissoko’s “quality” in the “wide areas” in last week’s Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester City had led him to leave out forward Hatem Ben Arfa against Chelsea.
Sissoko’s best position has long been debated on Tyneside.
The France international, often used in the No10 role, is felt by many to be a box-to-box central midfielder.
For his part, Sissoko is just happy to make the teamsheet – whatever role he’s handed.
“The manager decides if I play central midfield or left side,” Sissoko said.
“For me, the important thing is that you play and help the team.”
And Sissoko did help the team against Chelsea, who had dominated the game up to the break.
He brought a drive and energy to Pardew’s midfield as United overpowered their previously in-form visitors in the second half.
Before the game, Pardew felt his “athleticism” could prove a factor given the power in Jose Mourinho’s side. And so it proved.
Sissoko’s performance brought back memories of his home debut for the club back in February, when he scored two goals in a 3-2 win over the same opposition.
“I think the second half was the best I’ve played this season,” he added.
“The most important thing is that the team played well together, and won the game.”
Sissoko feels the Newcastle’s performance has given the team the template for how to win.
“I’m very happy. Chelsea are a big team, and they play Champions League every time,” he said.
“I know they are a good team, but we played well, and we played hard. In the second half, we were very strong and together.
“The manager said to play hard in the second half. We pressed all the time.
“I think all the players played very well. When we play together, it’s easier.
“If we work hard every week, I think when the season finishes Newcastle could be in the top seven or eight.”
Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League. But their manager, Andre Villas-Boas, has still come under fire from fans this season given the way his talented team has laboured this season. After their recent home win over Hull City, Villas-Boas said: “We don’t need the negativity of today.”
There could be some tired legs in his team come kick-off time, with Spurs having played in the Europa League against Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol last night.
United know to their cost the toll that Thursday-night European football can take on a side’s domestic form.
As such, Sissoko feels opportunity knocks for Newcastle at White Hart lane, where the club hasn’t won since March 2008, when goals from Nicky Butt, Geremi, Obafemi Martins and Michael Owen gave Newcastle, then managed by Kevin Keegan, a 4-1 victory.
“All the players are very happy, but this is another game. We have to train hard,” said Sissoko.
“Tottenham are a good team, but if we play hard together, maybe we can win the game.”