We have to build on second-half display - Diamé
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Mohamed Diamé is hopeful Newcastle United will take heart from their second-half performance as the Magpies look to bounce back from Saturday’s narrow defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
United trailed to Jan Vertonghen’s header less than ten minutes into their Premier League curtain-raiser, only to hit back quickly through Joselu. However, Dele Alli’s header – itself coming within a frantic opening spell – put Spurs back in the ascendancy at St. James’ Park.
Rafa Benítez’s side could count themselves a touch unfortunate not to restore parity for a second time, though. Diamé himself rattled the post two minutes after the break, with debutant Salomón Rondón also seeing a deflected effort come back off the woodwork late on.
Though it wasn’t quite to be, the Senegalese midfielder felt there was plenty for the Magpies to take heart from heading into their next encounter, at newly-promoted Cardiff City next Saturday.
“I thought we had a bad first half. And I thought I had a bad first half personally, so it wasn’t easy. But second half, I thought we deserved a draw,” he told nufc.co.uk. “We need to take the positive things, and come back quick and be ready for Cardiff.
“There was a lot of excitement to start this game. We’ve been waiting for this game for a while. We saw a lot of balls lost in the middle – from us and from them – and that’s why it was an open game. The second half, we did well – we came back in our shape and did things in the right way. Hopefully, we’re going to keep going in this way. We have to keep that second half in mind.”
Venezuelan frontman Rondón wasn’t the only debutant in the Newcastle side, with Yoshinori Mutō also entering the fray for his Magpies bow.
Diamé reserved a word of praise for the pair, and, on a personal level – having limped out of last week’s friendly defeat to FC Augsburg less than half an hour in – spoke of his satisfaction at coming through the 90 minutes unscathed.
“(Rondón and Mutō) did well. They brought us the fresh things we needed for the second half. Hopefully, they can keep going and bring something more for the team,” he said.
“It was a long pre-season. I (would have) expected to be more fit than I was today, but I couldn’t play 90 minutes in the last friendly because I was injured. I’ll be OK. The injury is much better now. I wasn’t sure I’d be here today, but I’m alright, and I’ll be OK for Cardiff and Chelsea.”
"I thought we had a bad first half. And I thought I had a bad first half personally, so it wasn’t easy. But second half, I thought we deserved a draw."