Chelsea striker Demba Ba has revealed that he visited his former Newcastle United team-mates at their hotel on Friday night to give them a motivational pep talk.
Newcastle have slowly slid towards the relegation zone ever since Ba left the club for Chelsea in a £7 million deal in January. And the Magpies will drop into the bottom three if Wigan beat Swansea in their game in hand on Tuesday night.
Ba decided to call in on his former colleagues before Chelsea set off for Manchester for their Premier League match with United at Old Trafford and rally the troops. It had a degree of success as Newcastle claimed a 0-0 draw at West Ham United just seven days after being thrashed 6-0 at home by Liverpool.
Newcastle travel to London again on Sunday to face Queens Park Rangers knowing they must beat the Premier League's bottom club to give themselves the best chance of avoiding a second relegation in four years. Their final game is against Champions League-chasing Arsenal at St James' Park.
Ba was quoted as saying in the Sun: "I went to see them at the hotel and I tried to give them a bit of motivation because I wouldn't like to see them go down.
"Newcastle have the qualities. There isn't a lot missing for the team to get out of the situation and I hope they will. They are all motivating each other and talking to each other."
Ba also remains confident that Chelsea will book a place in next season's Champions League, and a win against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday will all but assure they will play among Europe's elite once again.
"There are three games left. The one on Wednesday will be more than difficult," he said. "Then we have two games we shouldn't take lightly against Aston Villa and Everton. It's in our hands and up to us not to mess it up."