Cheick Tiote hopes his injury problems are finally behind him – and a long run in the team is ahead of him.
Tiote is a fixture in Newcastle United’s starting XI for the first time since last year.
It wasn’t easy for me. But I know myself, and I know I have to do everything right and try to work hard to come back. That’s what I was doing.Cheick Tiote
The long-serving midfielder was sidelined for the second half of last season with a knee injury suffered on international duty.
And Tiote’s future looked to lie away from the club in the summer.
But the 29-year-old stayed at St James’s Park, where he was reunited with Steve McClaren, who managed him earlier in his career at FC Twente.
And Tiote – who helped the club to a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the weekend – is just relieved to again be making a contribution on the pitch.
“Every player wants to play every week,” said Tiote, who is just one booking away from a one-match ban.
“For me, I’m happy, and I have to continue like that.
“It wasn’t easy for me. But I know myself, and I know I have to do everything right and try to work hard to come back. That’s what I was doing.
“Now I have to do the same things.”
Tiote has been troubled by a series of niggling injuries in recent years, and he is keen to put a difficult period behind him and get back to his best.
“For me, the most important thing is being professional,” said Tiote, whose contract runs until the summer of 2017.
“I am a footballer, and I have a job to do.
“I just come in train hard, do my best for the team and if the manager gives the opportunity I will do my best in the games. That’s the most important thing for me.
“I just do my best for the team. That is the most important thing. All I want is to see the team go forward and win games.”
The Bournemouth victory, which owed everything to Rob Elliot’s performance in goal, saw United climb out of the Premier League’s relegation zone ahead of the international break.
“We are out of the relegation zone now, and that was very good for the team,” said Ivory Coast international Tiote.
“It was very important for us to win that game.
“We are all happy, and we need to continue that way.
“We need to thank Rob Elliot. He’s a very good goalkeeper, and we are happy for him also.
“It was very difficult for us in the first half. They started fast and wanted to score the first goal. We just had to keep our shape.
“Sometimes you need a bit of luck. We had played well in the two previous games, but we hadn’t won, and this was a day when we had some luck.
“That’s football. When you look at the games against Sunderland and Stoke, we did everything well to win but we didn’t score.
“It wasn’t the best game, but the most important thing was the three points.
“We need to focus now on the next two games. It’s not going to be easy, but we need to do everything to be ready and try to win.”