Colo Stays Calm
By Dan Sheridan - Newcastle United Managing Editor
WITH NEWCASTLE RIDING HIGH IN THE LEAGUE TABLE, ALL EYES ARE ON THE TOP SIX AS UNITED LOOK TO CEMENT THEIR PLACE. BUT AS CAPTAIN FABRICIO COLOCCINI EXPLAINS, THE PLAYERS ARE KEEPING THEIR FEET ON THE GROUND
FABRICIO COLOCCINI ON A BAD NIGHT AT TOTTENHAM…
We came up against a very, very good Spurs team two weeks ago, but we felt a bit unlucky to be 2-0 down after just six minutes of the game. That made things very hard for us because they kept the ball and they moved it around very well.
It was always going to be hard to come back from that, especially with the players that Tottenham have in their team. We knew we would have to play well to get a result before the game but it just didn't happen for us.
We had a lot of ambition before the match to go out onto the pitch and win the game. We knew Chelsea and Liverpool had lost earlier in the day, and Arsenal had won, so we wanted to take advantage of those results.
When you go behind so quickly, it is always going to be hard, but that can happen in football - especially at this level. We have to learn to be clever when we are losing against that type of team and try not to concede too many goals like we did at Tottenham.
ON THE BEST TEAMS NEWCASTLE HAVE FACED THIS SEASON…
A few people asked me after the game if Tottenham are the best team that we have played so far this season and maybe on the evidence of this one game, I would have to say yes.
But we played Spurs at home back in October and we played very well against them. We got a point in a 2-2 draw and we could have won the game, so we know we can match them.
In games like that one and the win over Manchester United, we've shown that we can compete with the very top teams in this division. What happened at White Hart Lane is history and we have to keep going and look forward.
ON UNITED'S AMAZING SUPPORT AT SPURS…
It's important that we find a balance to our play, because we cannot be beating Manchester United 3-0 one week then losing 5-2 to Fulham just a couple of weeks later.
We owe it to ourselves and we also owe it to our supporters, because they were amazing at Tottenham and it meant a lot to the players to hear them singing even though we'd been beaten so badly.
They travelled a very long way to support us and we lost 5-0, so it wasn't good for them.
ON BEING IN THE TOP SIX AT THE END OF FEBRUARY…
Of course, we are very proud of where we are in the table at the moment, but it's difficult to be too happy because of what happened in the last game. We know that whether you lose 1-0 or 5-0 it is still just three points lost, but heavy defeats are never good for team spirit.
Now we have to start again and try our hardest to stay near the top of the table. We have a chance to make something important happen for this football club and we want to do our best to make it happen.
ON THE JANUARY ARRIVAL OF PAPISS CISSÉ…
It was very important that Papiss got off to a good start because apart from Demba, he came here and he didn't know any of the players and he knew nothing about the city.
He met up with us just three days before the game with Aston Villa and looked very good in training, and then just 14 minutes into the Villa match he is coming off the bench to replace Besty.
That was a big moment for him because maybe he wasn't going to come off the bench so soon, but he did very well. The goal was fantastic but more than that, he worked very hard for the team and that's just as important.
Even after what happened against Villa, it's still very early to say how well he will do over time, but the start he has made showed us what he is capable of doing and he looks like a very good signing.
We will all help him to learn the language and to improve. He needs time to see how the team works and it will take him a few games to get used to us.
ON LEARNING THE ROPES AS A NEW SIGNING…
It is important to settle in when you move to a new country, a new club and a new league. I experienced it when I arrived here in 2008 and it took me a while to get used to everything.
It will be the same for Papiss but so far, in the short time that he has been here, he has done very well. He will improve all the time because everything is still very new to him.
He will find that the Premier League is tougher than the Bundesliga in Germany. He is used to playing at that level and it will take time, but that is quite normal and in a few games, he will find it a lot easier.
ON THE RETURN OF YOHAN CABAYE AND CHEICK TIOTÉ…
They are very important to us because, quite simply, they are great players. But I have to say, while Cheick was away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Perchy came in and did really well in midfield.
That is really important because you need players in the changing room that can come in and do a job like that. Perchy was ready and did very well, and I have to say the same about Danny Guthrie.
It's good for the team that Yohan and Cheick are available again and they can be very important players for us over the last 13 games of the season, but it's good that we have players who are pushing them for a place in the team.
We need players in the squad who train well and train hard every week and are ready when they are needed. That is important for the group to have people who are ready to play when the opportunity comes along.
ON TODAY'S GAME WITH WOLVES…
It's very important that we respond to what happened at Tottenham two weeks ago, but it's also important to play our football and stick to our own plans and our own game.
When you look at the game against Blackburn earlier this month, even though we won, we didn't play as well as we wanted to. We know that three points is the most important thing but we'd like to play our football as well.
We've already shown how well we can play and you only have to look at what we did against Manchester United to see what we can do. But we have to be consistent with it and try to play that way more often.
We know Wolves have changed things with their manager recently and when a team does that, every player wants to prove themselves all over again, so that could make today's game difficult.
ON CAPITALISING ON TWO CONSECUTIVE HOME GAMES…
We want to stay in the top six, and we have a great chance of doing that, but like always, we have to keep our feet on the floor and work hard because there is no such thing as an easy game in the Premier League.
We must give 100 per cent and believe in ourselves for the rest of the season. If we do that, then we have a great chance of a good finish.
We have moved past 40 points, and that was a target of ours. Now we can dream about achieving something special this season, but we need to keep calm and we need the fans to keep supporting us like they always do.
We're not thinking about the Champions League or the Europa League - we are taking things game by game and then, in May, we will see where we are. The dream is there, but we need to be calm, be clever and keep picking up points.
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