STAND-IN skipper Cheik Tiote says actions speak louder than words – and he’s determined to let his feet do the talking for Newcastle United.
Tiote has been handed the captain’s armband in the absence through injury of Fabricio Coloccini.
And the midfielder is relishing leading his team out against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, where he was sent off last season in a 1-1 draw between the two sides.
United manager Alan Pardew said he wanted someone who “played by example rather than said too much” to skipper his side against Liverpool last weekend.
Quietly-spoken Tiote – who pays little attention to what is written and said between games – insists he won’t be distracted from the job in hand during the build-up to Sunday’s derby.
Just as importantly, Tiote – who was outstanding against Liverpool – must keep his discipline once he crosses the white line.
“I don’t read anything on the internet,” Tiote told the Gazette.
“It isn’t important for me. We just have to focus in the most important area – on the pitch.
“If we do our jobs, we will win games. That is the most important thing.
“We must stay compact as a team and stay together. If we do, we’ll win the game. When you’re on the pitch you have to give everything for the fans and the manager.”
Tiote put in his best performance of the year in the club’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool, which followed a 2-1 win over Cardiff City.
Those fixtures followed back to back Premier League defeats to Everton and Hull City.
And Tiote feels United’s performances against Liverpool and Cardiff have answered some of the questions that were being asked about the team, which narrowly avoided relegation last term.
“There is no escape from the criticism if we lose games,” said the 27-year-old. “It’s hard, but we know we have good players in this team.
“If everybody is focused we will do well. The only way we can answer people is by winning.
“If we lose we have to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes. We have been trying to do that in the last few games.
“Our fans have travelled everywhere. I’m always happy when we give them wins. We don’t want to send them home unhappy.”
Tiote lasted just 25 minutes of the game on Wearside last season.
With Newcastle leading through Yohan Cabaye’s early strike, Tiote was dismissed for catching Steven Fletcher with a raised boot.
A late Demba Ba own goal earned Sunderland a point.