By Dan King
Alan Pardew has confirmed that Cheik Tiote will not play against Chelsea on Sunday, in order to ensure that he doesn't miss the start of next season.
The Ivorian enforcer is currently on 14 bookings for the season and one more would bring with it a three-match suspension, which would carry over into next term.
And with United's Barclays Premier League safety secured, Pardew is reluctant to run the risk of being without such an important player when the new campaign kicks off in August.
"He won't play, that's the decision we've made on that," Pardew said at his press conference ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge.
"It's fairly obvious that it's something we need to correct next year. I've talked to him about it this week and I'll talk to him before he goes away for the summer because you can't take 14 bookings in a season.
"I think he's been unlucky a couple of times. Four or five of his bookings have just been strong challenges, physical challenges.
"Certainly, its a situation where he needs to adjust but also familiarity of the way he plays will get referees to understand that he is a fair player.
"You need your best players on the pitch, and he is one of our best players."