Tiote - Toon can cope
Cheick Tiote insists Newcastle can cope without Andy Carroll until a summer replacement is brought in.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 05/02/11 1:08pm
Midfielder Cheick Tiote insists Newcastle can cope without Andy Carroll and has backed Leon Best to prolong his recent goalscoring form.
The Magpies sold home-grown talent Carroll to Liverpool in the final hours of deadline day in January, leaving them no time to replace the £35million man.
Boss Alan Pardew expects to invest a chunk of the fee back into the squad in the summer, but Ivorian Tiote has few concerns in the meantime.
"We have a good squad here at Newcastle and the team spirit is very good too," Tiote told The Independent.
"We've been without several players recently, especially through injury, but football is a squad game and the players who come in are very capable.
"You only have to look at the three goals Leon Best scored against West Ham to see that."
Newcastle host title chasers Arsenal on Saturday, a game which could see a return to the side for Tiote following a three-match ban for his FA Cup red card at Stevenage.
The 24-year-old, who has been a revelation in his debut season at the club, has missed winless games against Sunderland, Tottenham and Fulham.
He said: "I felt my form was pretty good so to miss out on three important games for the club, when you are fit to play, was terrible.
"Missing the derby at Sunderland was probably the worst of it."
Tiote arrived from FC Twente in the summer having previously played under Steve McClaren in Holland plus fellow former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson during Ivory Coast's World Cup campaign.
And Tiote says both managers, and leading compatriots, convinced him to move to the Premier League: "[Didier] Drogba, Kolo Toure as well, they told me it was the right moment to come here, after the World Cup."