By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Cheick Tiote admits he is happy to bide his time on the substitutes' bench, if it means Newcastle continue to climb the Premier League table.
The Ivorian enforcer had missed five games due to his involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations, including a draw at Norwich and back-to-back victories over Aston Villa and Chelsea.
He returned to action at White Hart Lane on Saturday as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 defeat by a Gareth Bale-inspired Tottenham, and Tiote insists he has no divine right to walk straight back into a midfield berth.
"It was nice so be back because I was away for one month but now I am back and I have to do my best to help the team," he told nufc.co.uk.
"The squad has changed since I have been away and it was good for us to sign some new players because now we have much more strength in the squad and more balance as well. That can only be a good thing.
"I cannot just come straight back in. The team have been doing well while I was away and got a couple of really good wins.
"All that matters is the team, not who is playing. If we are winning games then you cannot expect to just come back and play from the start."
Bale's double came either side of a Yoan Gouffran strike which, for a time, looked capable of earning the Magpies a share of the spoils in North London.
And that is an outcome which Tiote believes would have been fair.
"We played well today and I think we deserved a little bit more, maybe a draw," he explained.
"It was a tough game and it is never easy to play here, so I thought we did well but conceding the second goal was disappointing.
"We fought hard and worked hard though and on another day might have got something more."