It is fair to say that our Ivory Coaster didn’t have one of his best matches on Wednesday night but I have been surprised at the odd over the top comment directed at Cheick Tiote in the last day or two.

Considering he came back for Swansea after a long frustrating injury and was clearly not match fit, I thought his commitment was spot on as guts and determination got him through that game with him missing a yard of pace and his touch not quite there.

Fast forward to Wednesday and as well as the team overall missing Yohan Cabaye, Tiote also clearly misses his classy centre midfield partner.

In fact the West Brom match reminded me  of many matches last season where Tiote had to launch himself around the pitch like a madman to make up for the inadequacies of Kevin Nolan, particularly his lack of mobility.

I’m not knocking Haris Vuckic, who I do like based on the little I’ve seen, but his general play was no more than ok with two big highlights of cracking long range shots which would almost certainly have brought a win if either had evaded the woodwork or Ben Foster.

If I’d had to mark the two players I would have given them similar marks, probably 6 (6.5 if allowing halves) out of 10, with Tiote a bit below par and Vuckic stepping up from the reserves and being ok.

The transfer speculation undoubtedly taints players in the eyes of some fans, even when the player himself has seemingly done nothing to invite any doubts about his future.

Personally, I think Tiote is an immense talent who is more than happy to stay at Newcastle United and has even come out and said so.

A couple of average matches (by his standards) shouldn’t get anybody on his case, a cracking player and one who definitely will put his body on the line for Newcastle United.

A great player who deserves our Great(sorry!)ful support.