Alan Pardew hails Cheick Tiote

Alan Pardew says that Cheick Tiote is in top form for Newcastle United.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has praised midfielder enforcer Cheick Tiote as the driving force behind his team's rise to seventh in the Premier League.

Five wins in the last six games - against teams such as Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United - have catapulted the Magpies to within four points of second place.

Pardew said that Tiote, who recently stood in as captain for the injured Fabricio Coloccini, is in top form at the moment, and described his performance in last week's victory at Old Trafford as one of his best for the club.

"He is playing very well," the 52-year-old told reporters.

"I was very reluctant to take the captaincy from him after he did so well with it, but he has proved to me, irrespective of whether he wears the armband or not, he is brilliant.

"I can reflect on the two Manchester United games. The 3-0 was the best performance he ever gave this football club, closely followed by that performance [last week], so he can do it against the top clubs."

Newcastle welcome Southampton to St James' Park this afternoon.

Davide Santon of Newcastle United competes with Shane Long of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match on November 30, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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