MOUSSA Sissoko has hit back at claims Newcastle United’s season is over – and insisted the club can STILL finish in the top 10.
John Carver’s side are 11th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s game against Everton.
We want to finish in the top 10, so every player stays focused at the training ground and every weekend to do the best.Moussa Sissoko
Newcastle, under pressure from Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion below them, are four points behind 10th-placed West Ham United.
And Sissoko and his team-mates need to close the gap on Sam Allardyce’s side – and quickly.
Sissoko – the club’s influential midfielder says the time to judge the team will be at the end of an up-to-now disappointing and demoralising campaign.
The ambitious 25-year-old – who talked about his desire to play for a “big club” in January – feels ‘focused’ United can yet finish in the top half of the table.
Asked about claims that the club’s season is all but over, Sissoko said: “People can talk about us, but we try to do the best every game.
“We want to finish in the top 10, so every player stays focused at the training ground and every weekend to do the best.
“We will see where we will be at the end of the season.”
Newcastle were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United on their last outing, with Ashley Young having claimed all three points at St James’s Park with a last-minute goal.
The highlight of the match was the return of winger Jonas Gutierrez.
Gutierrez – who was given the all-clear late last year after treatment for cancer in his native Argentina – came off the bench to a standing ovation.
Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini handed Gutierrez, his close friend and Argentinian countryman, the skipper’s armband given the significance of his first appearance for the club since October 2013.
“It’s emotional for every player and all the people,” said France international Sissoko.
“We all know what he has been through. I’m very happy for him and I hope he will show the best for the rest of the season.”