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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Newcastle rally amid rift reports

Kristan Heneage and ESPN staff

Newcastle players Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote insist the squad remains committed and confident of staying in the Premier League next season.

Cisse and Tiote were responding to supporters' suggestions of disharmony in the dressing room while on the club's website. The claims come after two disappointing home defeats against rivals Sunderland and Liverpool, in which the team has conceded nine goals.

"Every player is together," Cisse told the club's official website. "We are totally focused on Saturday's game at West Ham and the two games after that. We have a strong bond and we want the best for our club, our manager and our wonderful fans.

"We are not happy about recent results. Nobody is happy when they lose, but this has only made us stronger as a group and we will come through this together. There is no divide in the team."

Tiote added: "We want to let the fans know that all of the players are committed and we are in this together. We will fight to get out of this problem and we know our fans will help us to do that. They are incredible."

Magpies managing director Derek Llambias also hit out at "false rumours" of a rift within the dressing room.

"The club is determined to turn things around and everyone is working together to secure that goal," he said. "It is not helpful when people try and distract the team and the manager with false rumours."

Alan Pardew's side, who sit five points above the relegation zone but have played a game more than 18th-placed Wigan, travel to West Ham on Saturday before visiting QPR the following weekend and then finishing the season at home to Arsenal.

Meanwhile, the club have banned the Daily Telegraph's north-east football reporter from attending matches at St James' Park until further notice.

The club issued a solicitors letter via London based solicitors Russell-Cooke earlier this week after the newspaper printed a story about the perceived divide within the squad. Petitioning for a public apology and the retraction of the original story from the Telegraph's online edition, the newspaper rejected Newcastle's requests

Confirming the decision via a statement on their website, the Telegraph said: "The story was written on the basis of verbal and written accounts of the split provided by several sources, including individuals employed by the club.

"We regret the club's decision to ban the Telegraph from attending matches and press conferences, but will not allow it to prevent us providing the most incisive, trustworthy Newcastle coverage, rather than pandering to what the club want you to read."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.




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