Moussa Sissoko says that one of the major factors on Saturday was that Newcastle ‘showed some character’.
The last four games have seen Newcastle unbeaten, wins over Swansea and Palace, plus fighting draws against Liverpool and Manchester City after trailing both of them.
A tough first half saw Crystal Palace have the upper hand but a bit like when Swansea were in the ascendancy in the second half two weeks, Newcastle once again found they had enough in them to tough it out.
Luck though appeared to have run out, only for as Moussa Sissoko points out, Karl Darlow to make ‘a big save’.
Amusing that Sissoko doesn’t mention his own part in the penalty incident. At the match, fans watched in disbelief as Mike Dean pointed to the spot, with nothing obvious having happened as Yohan Cabaye sent over a lofted corner from the left hand side.
However, TV replays later made it clear that for some reason Moussa Sissoko had raised his arm above his head and his fingertips grazed the ball. A pretty soft penalty considering what goes on in penalty areas these days and goes unpunished but a ridiculous thing for the Newcastle Captain to do in any case.
Sissoko points out the growing team spirit and confidence, which is something that only positive results can bring – this four match unbeaten run doing the players a world of good.
Whilst obviously Rafa Benitez has created a far better environment for the players to work in, it is surely though still a disgrace that despite Steve McClaren’s incompetence, the players themselves showed so little character in the 28 Premier League matches before the former Real Madrid boss was appointed.
If Newcastle can stay up then the players won’t be heroes, rather they will have regained a little bit of self-respect after dragging United so far down to begin with.
Moussa Sissoko speaking to the official club website:
“The atmosphere was good, the fans were behind us from the beginning until the end – the dressing room was very happy.
“We scored, and then they had the penalty, then Karl made a big save.
“A tough game but I think we showed some character, Andros scored a fantastic goal, and we keep going like in the last four games. We played well, showed some team spirit and we have more confidence now.
“It was a massive game, said if we won it would be massive for us.
“We’ve got two games before the end of the season now and we will do everything to win those games.
“We need them (the fans), we know that this season has been very hard for us, for the fans, for the city, for everyone – but now we have two games left and we need everyone to (help) stay in the Premier League.
“They were behind us and that’s good, they will be behind us until the end of the season and we need to keep fighting.”
“We need to stay focused on our job and we have another game on Saturday against Villa. We know they are already relegated but I think in front of their fans they will try everything to win the game, but we will go there to fight, to come back with the three points.
“We want to stay in the Premier League, so we need to give everything and win the game.”