Newcastle’s man of the moment, Mohamed Diame, has put his recent upturn in form down to getting his ‘legs back’.
After agreeing to drop from the Premier League, just like Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie, the former Hull and Wigan star had been a major disappointment.
Scoring 10 goals from midfield last season as he played a major part in Hull’s promotion to the top tier, Newcastle fans were confident that surely he could do the same.
However, after four months without a Championship goal, fair to say Mohamed Diame had been one of the biggest disappointments of the summer trading.
Rafa Benitez made all the right noises about the player still contributing by working hard but the lack of goals and assists must have also been a major disappointment to the United boss.
The game against Birmingham saw easily his best and most effective performance, playing a major part in two of the four goals, with the visitors not able to handle the transformed midfielder all game.
Great to see Rafa play him again at Wigan (as he did the entire 11 who started v Birmingham!) and he was suitably rewarded, an all round man of the match display and a superb lung-busting run from the halfway line that ended with a smart one-two via Isaac Hayden and a cool finish.
Mohamed Diame says he simply needed ‘to work more to get my legs back and now I feel more confident’.
Every player will react differently to moving to another club and some hit the ground running. A major advantage of the size of squad Rafa has built is that whilst somebody like Matt Ritchie was excellent from early on, he has hit a bit of a low/average level recently, so great that then the likes of Diame is on hand to step up and fill that creativity gap.
Only four more Championship games before Diame and others head off to the African Cup of Nations finals with no return likely until February, nice to see the Senegal international keep this form going and help set Newcastle up for the new year.
“I’m happy, I always knew I needed to work more to get my legs back and now I feel more confident.
“I need to keep on going and try to get better and better every single game – I can definitely do much better and I’m confident that I will do.
“It was a great goal (at Wigan), I believe – my legs are back and so I can run and push forward again.
“I like giving assists too…but it was a good goal, we just try to give our best
“When we play at home, teams just stay behind and try to not concede.
“When we play away they have to come out and give some space to our strikers to run in behind.”