By Dan Sheridan - Newcastle United Managing Editor
WE TALK TEAMMATES, THE TOON ARMY AND THE RACE FOR EUROPE WITH UNITED'S 16-GOAL SENEGALESE STAR AS THE 2011/12 SEASON HITS THE HOME STRAIGHT
DEMBA BA ON DEFEAT AT ARSENAL…
It was a difficult game on Monday because we were playing against a good side who play very good football for the whole of the game. But I think we maybe deserved a point.
We put in a lot of hard work against Arsenal but they scored in the very last minute of injury time and that made it very difficult for us. We were left with a lot of frustration because of that.
I thought we played very well in the first half, but after that, the way they passed the ball caused us problems and they created a lot of chances. It was a shame because we only needed to hang on for one more minute.
ON MOVING ON AFTER LATE DRAMA AT THE EMIRATES…
The very last minute of the game is the best moment to score because it leaves the other team with no time to respond. A goal at that stage was always going to hand victory to one team or the other.
But we are over it, and we were over it as a team very quickly. We didn't get what we wanted from the game at Arsenal and we didn't get what we deserved, but that can happen and you have to move on.
All we can do as players is look to the next game and we have another chance today to start again and try to pick up three points. That has to be our main aim every time.
There were a lot of positives to take away from the game on Monday and we are happy with the hard work that we put into the game. We now have to take that into the next game and continue to play our football.
ON THE FORM OF HATEM BEN ARFA…
I'm very happy for Hatem because he is coming into some good form at just the right time. Hopefully he can keep on doing what he is doing for the last ten games of the season.
He can be a very big player for us over the next few weeks and I hope he is going to do everything he can to do well for the team. When he plays like he did at Arsenal, and like he did in the second half against Sunderland, he is the type of talent we need.
As a striker it is vital to have someone like Hatem in the team. I love the way he plays and I know the way he plays. He's a very good passer of the ball, and when you are a forward, you love to play with that type of player.
I never get frustrated with him because I know what he is capable of, and as soon as he gets the ball, I know I can start to make a run because if the pass or the cross is on, I know the ball will come.
ON HIS OWN GAME…
I was quite tired physically when I first came back from the Africa Cup of Nations, but when I look at my fitness stats now, I'm getting better and better by the day so I'm not worried about anything.
I play football because I love it - I really do. I get more frustrated when I've had a bad game than when I don't score, so as long as I'm playing well, then I have no problems.
ON THE CURRENT CAMPAIGN…
This is the best season of my career so far, but that is not just about the amount of goals that I've scored. It's about my teammates, the atmosphere around the Club, the stadium and everything about the place. They all add up.
ON THE RACE FOR A EUROPEAN PLACE…
Nothing is decided yet and you only have to look at Arsenal a few weeks ago to see how quickly football can change. They were a long way from third place not too long ago and now they are only one point away.
Tottenham beat us 5-0 a few weeks ago and looked very, very strong, but now they look like they could slip up and Arsenal could overtake them, so you never know what will happen in this game.
There are ten games to go, so nothing is set in stone because there are 30 points to play for, and that is a lot.
ON THE NEWCASTLE FANS…
I like the way the fans here support the team - they are very passionate and I love that. The whole city is all about football and that is the reason that some players want to play for some teams and not others.
I think the fact that there is only one team in the city helps a lot, because in London and Birmingham there are a lot of teams, but it is not like that in Newcastle.
What I love about the English is that when they are growing up, they are encouraged to support the team from their local neighbourhood. That is why everybody from Newcastle supports Newcastle, and that's a very good thing for us.
ON FELLOW SENEGAL STAR PAPISS CISSÉ…
He is doing very well and he's settling in okay. He has my number and he calls me any time he needs me, which is fine by me. He is going to be a very big player here because what we have seen already - that is just the beginning. He's knows where the goal is and once he is used to the English game, he will be huge for this team.
ON TODAY'S GAME AGAINST NORWICH…
Every game is important in the Premier League, but this one is very important because we have not won in the last four matches. So we know that it is time to get back to winning.
There is still so much to play for, so we plan to work hard and I'm pretty sure that if we show the same intensity against Norwich as we have in our last two games, then hopefully that will be enough.