Tiote Still Searching For Sharpness
Written by Newcastle Utd
Cheik Tiote admitted he did not feel "100 per cent" against Arsenal but was still pleased with the result
By Dan King - Newcastle United Communications Officer
The hero of last season's 4-4 thriller with Arsenal was also a vital part of the Newcastle team who gained another draw - albeit with eight fewer goals scored - on Saturday.
But Cheik Tiote admitted that he did not feel "100 per cent" after his pre-season campaign was disrupted by a trip to Ghana while a routine work permit application was processed.
He only returned to Tyneside on Wednesday, and although he was accompanied to West Africa by Magpies physio Derek Wright, he missed a number of training sessions with his team-mates as well as the friendlies against Leeds and Fiorentina.
And in an exclusive interview with nufc.co.uk Tiote - who hit the memorable equaliser against The Gunners last season as United came back from four goals down - explained that he didn't feel at his best against The Gunners.
"I'm not feeling 100 per cent because I missed a few days of full training when I went to deal with the visa," he said. "I'm a little bit sad because I missed some training and I missed two games before the season started, and it's important for me to be fit.
"On Saturday I was not happy because I was not 100 per cent on the pitch, but I think after two or three games I will be okay and back to full sharpness."
However, the Ivorian was pleased with the result against Arsenal - and is already turning his attention to next weekend's derby against Sunderland.
"I thought we played very good," Tiote said. "It was a hard game to have as the first game for the season and I think we are happy with the result.
"You must play to win, but on this occasion a draw was a good result, I think.
"But now we need to be focussed about the next game and not to think about the game against Arsenal. We must forget about the game against Arsenal and think about Sunderland."