Mohamed Diame reveals what’s changed for Newcastle at St James’s Park

Mohamed Diame
Mohamed Diame

Mohamed Diame says Newcastle United are determined to turn St James’s Park into a “fortress” between now and the end of the season.

Rafa Benitez’s side beat Southampton 3-0 at the stadium on Saturday to move up to the 13th place in the Premier League.

We made mistakes, and it cost us some points at home. But we’ve been working hard on the training ground.

Mohamed Diame

The victory followed last month’s 1-0 home success over Manchester United.

Newcastle had struggled on home turf in the first half of the season, but Diame believes that the work Benitez has been doing on the training ground is starting to pay dividends.

“I think we had some problems and little details that we couldn’t sort out for a while,” said the midfielder.

“We made mistakes, and it cost us some points at home.

“But we’ve been working hard on the training ground, correcting these issues, and we are focused to keep making less mistakes going forward.”

Newcastle have a 21-day break before Huddersfield Town visit St James’s Park on March 31.

“We’ve had two very big wins at St James’ Park in the last couple of games, but we need to make sure we keep going,” said midfielder Diame.

“This stadium has to be our fortress, with all the fans pushing us in every game – just like they did during the win over Southampton.

“We have to give our best to win these games. We’re doing well, and must keep doing it.”

Kenedy took the lead against Southampton with just 63 seconds on the clock.

The winger added another in the 29th minute, and Matt Ritchie put the game beyond Southampton with a second-half strike.

“To be honest, it helped us a lot that we scored the first goal so early,” said Diame.

“It put away a lot of the pressure, and made us just work hard to make sure we made the most of that.

“Other teams know it’s very hard when you concede goals against Newcastle this season, because we’ve done well defensively.

“A lot of people may have been criticising us for the way we played against Man City, when we played deep and defended a lot, but it could be important at the end of the season for our goal difference.

“We’re doing well. The team just needs to keep going.”

Meanwhile, Ayoze Perez has dedicated United’s win over Southampton to his late grandmother.

“Last week has been a very hard week for me,” Perez tweeted. “Last Wednesday my grandma passed away, she was like a second mother for me.

“Saturday’s win was for her ... and thanks to all the fans for the support you showed, it was too much needed for me after some sad days. We keep fighting “

Newcastle thanked Perez for “giving everything in difficult circumstances”.

The club tweeted: “Our sincere condolences to you and your family. Thank you for giving everything in difficult circumstances.”