Cheick Tiote plays down Arsenal comments, insists he is committed to Newcastle

The defensive midfielder claimed the Gunners showed interest in the summer

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The Independent Football

Cheick Tiote has insisted he is as committed to Newcastle as he has ever been amid claims he wants to leave the club.

Quotes attributed to the 28-year-old emerged from his native Ivory Coast earlier this week suggesting he would seek a move during the January transfer window, after he found himself the subject of a rejected bid from Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow during the summer.

However, Tiote, who has also been linked with Arsenal, moved to quell fears that the could ask to leave on Wednesday afternoon.

He told the club's official website, nufc.co.uk: "I saw the quotes that appeared yesterday, but they are not accurate.

"Yes, there was some interest in me over the summer and that can be a bit distracting, but nothing came of it.

"I'm back to full fitness and only thinking about doing my best for the team. We are not in a good position in the league right now and I want to get us up to where we should be.

"I am as committed as I have ever been to Newcastle."

Tiote's comments came moments after manager Alan Pardew had given his own view of the situation during his pre-match press conference.

Pardew, who last week admitted his "love" of Tiote and urged the club to tie him to a new contract, said: "When a player goes to their own country - and that can be Africa, France, Holland - we always seem to get misquoted versions of events, and this is one of those cases.

"His last two performances have been world-class for a team that that hasn't been functioning as it should be. That says it all for me.

"He's a terrific player, a big character and I look forward to seeing him on Saturday doing what he does - playing football."

Lokomotiv tested the water with Tiote, who has two years remaining on his contract after this season, by lodging a £4million offer, dismissed as "derisory" by Newcastle, for him in August.

Pardew could do with more world-class displays from Tiote and a few more of his players as he attempts to turn around a poor start to the Barclays Premier League season which has left him under intense pressure.

Monday night's 1-0 defeat at Stoke means the club has now won just five of the 26 league games it has played in 2014, but the 53-year-old, for now at least, remains in post with the backing of owner Mike Ashley.

He said: "It's completely out of my hands. I don't think people understand quite what a professional football manager is.

"We always have our lives on the line, almost every game you can lose your job, so you have to try to focus on the next game. Every game is very, very important. Win the next game - that's the only agenda I have.

"I'm very fortunate to have an owner who can see we are fighting for the club. The fans are angry and want to see their team win. They don't want to see us lose any more.

"We have a team that's not quite functioning as we would like, but there is nowhere to hide. It's like a boxing ring - there is nowhere to hide."

PA

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