TEAMWORK KEY TO TOON SUCCESS - CABAYE
Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye feels a keen sense of teamwork at the club has been one of the major strengths that helped them achieve a fifth-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League.
The Magpies enjoyed a superb 2011-12 campaign that few could have anticipated before it got under way, with several of their players emerging as stand-out stars.
Along with the likes of strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse and defender Fabricio Coloccini, Cabaye - who joined from Lille last summer - was certainly one of them, although the France international says what has really benefited Newcastle's cause is their collective ethic.
"Finishing fifth was beyond the expectations of the club and fans," said Cabaye, quoted in the Newcastle Chronicle.
"What makes us strong is that at no time a player has felt bigger than the team. We all worked for our team-mates.
"For my part, I managed to adapt myself quickly.
"We had a long unbeaten run at the start of the season, which helped me gain confidence."
He added: "There are many French and African players here, as at Arsenal, so there isn't a language barrier, which makes things easier.
"We get along well with everyone - there really is a good atmosphere in this group. We do not exclude anyone."
The 26-year-old - whose Premier League season finished in a spat with Everton's Tim Cahill at the end of Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park, which saw the Toffees man sent off and prompted an apology from Cabaye - is now looking forward to Euro 2012 with Les Bleus.
Somebody else at Newcastle eagerly awaiting the tournament is boss Alan Pardew, whose scouts will be there watching possible transfer targets the club have already identified - players the manager hopes do not play too well to catch other potential suitors' eyes.
"We'll be represented at the Euros," Pardew said.
"There are a couple of players we're looking at in that tournament and, as far as I'm concerned, I hope they have an awful one!"
Pardew has been named both LMA and Barclays manager of the year after his team's impressive campaign and former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd is backing the 50-year-old to take the Magpies to even greater heights next term.
Shepherd told Sky Sports News: "I think they could be in the Champions League next year if they keep this up.
"They have got a good team there and he (Pardew) has stabilised the whole club.
"He has come in and he is a nice guy but a no-nonsense guy and I think he has the players doing what he tells them to do, not what they want to do."
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