After demonstrating their technical and mental strength at Old Trafford, Yohan Cabaye believes Newcastle United need not fear anyone this season.
The French midfielder scored the only goal of the game as the Magpies won away at Manchester United for the first time since February 1972.
Cabaye was delighted to see his side not only respond so well mentally to Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Swansea City, but also in terms of their use of the ball.
“I thought we controlled the game,” he said. “In Wednesday’s game, I thought we were poor in possession of the ball. After that, we wanted to come here and play our football. We did well, and I think we deserved to win the game.
“It shows the character of the team. After we didn’t do very well at Swansea, maybe it was good to be put under pressure by playing against a big team. It will be good for us if we can play with the same attitude in every game now.
“We had a big respect for Manchester United, but we do not have to be afraid of anyone because we have beaten Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United now. There are no easy games against anyone, and every weekend is a big fight.
“But the league is quite open and that is good for us. Every team can beat every other team – we just have to stay focused and have the same mentality, whether we are playing against a big team or a team from further down the league.”
The statistics backed up Cabaye’s point about possession, his team commanding 53% of the ball. Newcastle’s win was their fifth in six Premier League games, keeping them in seventh place and widening the gap over David Moyes’ side to four points.
That no player on either side had been born when John Tudor and Stuart Barrowclough earned a 2-0 win at Manchester United was not lost on the man who wiped them from the history books.
“The manager told us before the game the club had not won here for more than 40 years,” Cabaye revealed. “It has been a long time, so everyone is very happy to have done it now. I’m delighted to have scored the winner.”
Cabaye’s 61st-minute goal deflected off Nemanja Vidic five minutes after Vurnon Anita touched Patrice Evra’s header onto the post with his arm, but Newcastle’s win was totally deserved.
“I don’t know if the shot was going in,” Cabaye admitted. “The keeper came close to saving it, but I don’t care whether the deflection made a difference or not. I am still happy. I scored the goal, and that was the most important thing.
“This goal ranks very highly with all the other ones I have scored. Just to have scored at Old Trafford is a fantastic feeling. I’m very happy to have done it.
“I scored against Liverpool at Anfield, and it’s always fantastic to score at those kind of stadiums. It’s even better when the goal means you win the game.”
Inevitably when one of the Premier League’s glamour sides loses the focus is more on them than the opposition, and many were asking whether the reigning champions can qualify for next season’s Champions League. But Newcastle, who drew Cardiff City at home in yesterday’s FA Cup third round draw, are better placed at present and while manager Alan Pardew was non-committal on the subject, results later in the day only gave his side further encouragement.
“I’m not saying ‘no’, I just think it is the situation where if all the top teams are beating each other, it gives us an opportunity,” he reflected. “To have Everton, Southampton, ourselves, West Brom and Swansea all playing strongly, as are (Aston) Villa, the top teams can come unstuck and it can open the door.
“All we’ve got to do is make sure we keep playing, get to April, and hopefully we are in the mix.
“We are not going to get carried away. We have a difficult game next week (at home to Southampton) and we have lost Cabaye. It’s a home game and our place is going to be rocking so I’m looking forward to that.”
Cabaye’s eighth-minute caution for a foul on Adnan Januzaj was his fifth of the season, ruling him out of Saturday’s game.