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Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa: Newcastle United want revenge

MAPOU Yanga-Mbiwa says that derby-day revenge is already on the black-and-white agenda as a wounded Newcastle United look to settle their survival battle as soon as possible.

Newcastle United's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

MAPOU Yanga-Mbiwa says that derby-day revenge is already on the black-and-white agenda as a wounded Newcastle United look to settle their survival battle as soon as possible.

The France defender – speaking at a Show Racism the Red Card event at St James’ Park – has admitted to surprise at the intensity and “envy” that he encountered in his first Tyne-Wear derby, as well as apologising to fans for the thumping defeat that followed.

It has been a crash course in the importance of winning local bragging rights for one of Newcastle’s January arrivals, who admits that it was a unique experience for him after playing in slightly more serene local derbies back in France.

He certainly fully understands the importance of the game now, admitting that the Tyneside public is “owed” a result at West Brom on Saturday.

He has put forward mental and physical fatigue as one of the reasons for the derby result, suggesting that the lack of consistency is partly due to Newcastle’s lengthy injury list.

Those have become familiar themes of a frustrating campaign. He said: “The derby was very different from France.

“It is the biggest game here; there is a lot of attention on it and a lot of passion. There is more envy in this kind of game than there was in France.

“For the next derby I’m sure that everyone will be ready because it is

impossible to forget about this game. We really want revenge already. We think we are capable of winning 3-0 against them as well, so we want to win that game and will be aiming for that.

“We are all very, very, very disappointed because we didn’t play well. It’s very complicated for the players and the staff to understand at the moment because we are very disappointed.

“We also know that for the supporters it is very difficult to lose this game. We really, really wanted to win but we have lost and we understand the importance of this derby for Newcastle. We are very sorry for losing it.”

Yanga-Mbiwa’s successful integration into the team has been one of the positives of a mixed period since January. He offers mitiga-tion for a disappointing season.

“Last year Newcastle had a very big season, but what happens the year after is that it becomes more complicated,” he said.

“This season we have had some good games and some bad games. We only arrived in January but there have been a lot of injuries and that has an effect.

“We are very tired physically and mentally too. It was a little bit of a bad combination.”

Next up for United are West Brom, safely in mid-table with little to play for. Yanga-Mbiwa has pledged to “fight” to the bitter end, saying: “I wanted to integrate quickly and I feel I’ve done that.

“These are my new colours and I’m ready to fight for this club until I drop down injured. We really want to stay in the Premier League and we want to have a good end to the season that we can take that into next year.

“We know the next game is an away game and even if we are tired the main objective is to win. We need a victory and we want everyone to understand that we want to stay in the Premier League – we want the fans to know that we are focused.”

At least he and the Newcastle team are not hiding away. Mbiwa, along with Massadio Haïdara, was part of a United delegation that helped a Show Racism the Red Card event this week.

The community work is an important part of his obligations as a Newcastle player.

“It is fun to be part of these events and good to raise awareness. It is a way to forget a little bit about the game,” he said.

United have noted comments from across the Channel from PSG’s sporting director Leonardo, who pinpointed Yohan Cabaye as a possible summer transfer target. A likely transfer fee of £25m – plus United’s unwillingness to sell – would probably put paid to those ambitions.


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