CHEIK Tiote left Stamford Bridge bloodied but unbowed – and determined to take the fight to Manchester City.
The midfielder was stretchered off in last night’s 2-0 win over Chelsea wearing a neck brace and oxygen mask.
But Tiote suffered nothing more than a gash to his head, and he saw Papiss Demba Cisse score his second stunning goal of the night deep in injury time on TV in the dressing room as he was treated.
Tiote was caught by a stray elbow from John Obi Mikel, who escaped any punishment from referee Mark Halsey.
However, the 25-year-old – who insists he doesn’t bear Mikel a grudge – is adamant he will be fit to face Man City at St James’s Park on Sunday in a game which could prove decisive to the club’s hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League.
“I’m much better,” said Tiote. “I can’t remember any of it, but the most important thing is I feel great – it’s just a cut on the side.
“I spoke to John Obi Mikel afterwards, and it’s fine. It was purely an accident from him. If you play in midfield, you have to let people hurt you and be ready for it. It’s fine for me, though. I will be OK for Sunday.”
Newcastle are level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur – who beat Bolton Wanderers 4-1 at the Reebok Stadium last night – in the Premier League with two games left to play.
And next up are Roberto Mancini’s league leaders, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference.
“Manchester City is on Sunday, and we’ll be doing everything to win it,” said Tiote. “It was a great win last night, and we have so much confidence.
“Chelsea are a huge club, and in the Champions League final. I think we have big confidence from this.”
On Cisse’s goals, Tiote added: “I saw the first goal, and it was world class.
“The second I had to see on the video in the dressing room, but they were both great goals. I’m not surprised to see him do that every time.”
Meanwhile, United manager Alan Pardew is confident Tiote will be able to face Man City.
“He’s fine,” said Pardew. “He’s got a big nine-inch gap on his head, and about 14m stitches! That’s just a scratch to him – he’s fine.”