Mo Diame on how ‘easy’ partnership with Ki Sung-yueng can inspire Newcastle to more success

Mo Diame and Ki, right, celebrate Ayoze Perez's goal.
Mo Diame and Ki, right, celebrate Ayoze Perez's goal.

Mohamed Diame says it’s “easy” to play alongside Ki Sung-yueng.

Rafa Benitez is sweating on the fitness of Jonjo Shelvey ahead of Saturday’s home game against Bournemouth.

Shelvey limped out of the weekend’s 1-0 win over Watford – and forgotten man Ki came off the bench.

The midfielder, signed from Swansea City in the summer, quickly settled into the game.

And Ki – who had found his opportunities limited since arriving at St James’s Park – delivered the free-kick for Ayoze Perez’s winner.

“He’s a quality player,” said Diame. “Since I’ve been in the UK, I’ve seen him play before at Swansea and Sunderland, so I know how good he is.

“It’s easy to play with a quality player like him. He has a lot of composure, he plays good passes, and he’s good for the team.

“Hopefully, we can get another good result against Bournemouth – whether Ki or Jonjo plays – because everybody deserves it, from the players, to the fans, to everyone who works here.

“We deserve another win for the effort we put in.”

The win over Watford was the club’s first of the campaign.

And the result, which doubled United’s points tally, lifted the club out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.

“Finally, we can speak after a win, which is a great feeling,” said 31-year-old Diame.

“We missed this feeling a lot, and we’re happy now after this result and can enjoy a good, positive week of training.

“It doesn’t matter how we get the three points, we just have to, and we were happy with how we won the game against Watford.

“We have picked up some points away, but none at home before Watford, so it was crucial to finally end that run.

“Everyone in the squad knows that it is at St James’s Park where we need to pick up the most points, so, of course, it’s going to be tough, but we need to go for the three points again and make winning at home a habit again.”

Perez – who, like Ki, had come off the bench – broke the deadlock with a second-half header from Ki’s set-piece.

Diame said: “I cannot tell you how important moments like that are.

“Definitely this goal just gave us the extra belief, and also fitness to finish the game harder.

“You could hear the fans pushing at the end, too. That’s the atmosphere we want, and it’s up to us to get them pumped up by performing on the pitch and getting results.”

Newcastle’s confidence had taken a battering in the opening 10 games.

Asked if he had been confident that United would turn a corner, Diame said: “Of course I’ve been confident.

“Football’s about confidence, and when you lose a lot of games like we were then the confidence goes down, so it’s not been easy.

“You need character, desire, and people who take responsibility on the pitch. Against Watford, we showed that. It was a good game for both teams, but the luck was on our side and we were happy to get the three points.

“Now we can look forward to playing against Bournemouth at St James’s Park, and we will try to do the same thing.”

United manager Benitez also lost captain Jamaal Lascelles and Yoshinori Muto to injuries against Watford.

“Things went against us at times against Watford,” said Diame, who is in the final year of his contract.

“We had three injuries, but we have to congratulate the players who came on, because they did very well.

“(Fabian) Schar did well at the back, Ki dictated the game and provided an assist, then Ayo scored that crucial winning goal, too.

“Everyone was focused, everyone was involved, and that’s the attitude of our squad: that we have to believe in ourselves, and just keep going.”

Bournemouth are sixth in the Premier League after an impressive start to the season.

“Of course, it was good to grow our confidence higher before another home match against an in-form team in Bournemouth,” said Diame.

“They lost to Man United, but we know they are a very good side. They lost to a top team, and they will come to St James’s Park with self-belief, thinking they can get the positive result.

“It will be another tough game, but we need to put in another big performance and show the right attitude to make sure we win this game.”