Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa insists Newcastle United’s season must start on Saturday – after condemning the rushed judgements on the club’s prospects.
The Magpies’ humiliating 4-0 defeat at the Etihad on Monday alarmed many observers and added to the sense the club is heading in the wrong direction, after a summer of struggles in the transfer market under their controversial director of football Joe Kinnear.
United are hoping to make progress on both the Yohan Cabaye transfer saga and new signings in the next 48 hours – and Alan Pardew is understood to have met with Kinnear and chief scout Graham Carr yesterday afternoon.
The meeting took place abroad, with Newcastle looking to make a breakthrough in their striker hunt while also staving off discontent from Cabaye.
Arsenal’s initial offer of £10million was rejected on Monday and the timing of their bid means United are in no hurry to do business with them.
Newcastle need to make progress after a horrendous start to the season.
It was an exercise in damage limitation from the start, but the manner of Newcastle’s performance led many to predict a season of struggle at St James’ Park.
Yanga-Mbiwa puts forward little defence of the display, or the way that United were dismantled by Manchester City.
However, he is confident that things will get better for Newcastle – starting with back-to-back home games against West Ham and Fulham.
His message for those rushing to write off Newcastle is their snap judgements are way too hasty, largely because of the calibre of opposition they faced on Monday evening.
He said: “It is too early to say we will struggle this season. I do not agree you can judge us on one game.
“We need to forget this game. We need to be positive for the next two
matches because we are at home and the season will start then for us, I hope.
“I’m sorry for the fans about how it went. We tried but it did not happen for us.
“We knew the first game was going to be difficult and now we need to work hard at the training ground to progress.
“After we do that we can move on from this result, I think.
“It was difficult to lose and it was difficult to lose like this.
“I don’t like to lose any game – no player plays to lose and after a 4-0 defeat it’s very difficult for the defenders and the rest of the team because it does not look good on us.
“We have to continue to work and to not let it ruin our season.
“We have to work hard and we have two games at home now, we must go out and try to win those games.”
The mood within the dressing room will have darkened after the defeat, especially as uncertainty now surrounds the future of Yohan Cabaye (pictured below) – a popular and influential part of the large French contingent in the camp.
Yanga-Mbiwa did not want to be drawn on Cabaye’s future and said transfers were a matter for Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley to sort out.
He argues that ,with Loic Remy in the squad, United will be stronger when he returns next week.
He added: “I think Manchester City are a big team. I think they are going to win the Premier League – that is a possibility.
“For Newcastle, Loic Remy will come back next week.
“I think when that happens we will be better because he is a very good player.
“I don’t know about new signings, it is not for me to answer this question. It is for the gaffer.
“This first game is very bad for the players and for the fans of Newcastle.”
Yanga-Mbiwa is now facing a prolonged run of games in the centre of defence following Steven Taylor’s red card and a likely three-match ban.
He said: “Davide (Santon) was injured so the gaffer asked me to play on the left.
“It’s normal for me to fill in there if they need to play there.
“I’m very sorry that Steven took a red card. I think the gaffer has a choice – if he puts me at centre-back I will do my very best.”