Moussa, Harry and Hugo were all on the pitch when we suffered a heavy defeat on our last visit to St James’ Park on the final day of the 2015-16 campaign – albeit not on the same side.
While Harry and Hugo were left with bitter tastes in their mouths at such an uncharacteristically crushing loss, Moussa was part of the Magpies’ team that triumphed in spite of already having been relegated to the Championship.
The France international midfielder subsequently transferred to north London and, speaking to us along with Harry and Hugo, says he expects an exciting game on Tyneside this weekend…
How do you feel about going back to Newcastle with us?
“Everyone knows it’s going to be special for me to play against my old team. I spent three-and-a-half years there and I had some good moments – we all know the last season wasn’t very good because we were relegated but it’s going to be good for me to go back there now and to see a lot of friends. To play against them is going to be strange but now I’m playing for Spurs and I will give everything to play well and then hope to win the game.”
On Newcastle’s team now compared to the team that beat us 5-1 at the end of 2015-16
“It’s a different team with different players, good players. They did very well last season in the Championship, they got promoted and now they’ve brought in some new players again. I don’t know how quickly they will gel but this is their focus – I’m focused on me and my team-mates here at Spurs so I hope we will do very well and come back with the three points.”
What do Newcastle do to make it difficult for teams at St James’ Park?
“When you play there, the atmosphere is fantastic. When you are a Newcastle player and you play in front of your fans, they give you a lot of energy and they are always behind you for 90, sometimes 95 minutes. Spurs fans are known for doing the same and that gives you more power during the game. For us, it won’t be an easy game but we have a strong team to go there, play very well and win the game.”
Thoughts on the match
“It’s going to be a tough game as always. We remember what happened there last time so that’s something we’ve got to try to do better at.”
How are the players feeling heading into the game?
“We’re looking forward to it! St James’ Park is a great place to go, a great stadium and it’s going to be a really exciting first game of the season so hopefully we can win.”
How important is it that we get off to a good start to the season?
“It’s not easy to start at Newcastle, against a newly-promoted team. It’s something new for most of their players, they are fresh and they have plenty of enthusiasm. It’s going to be a big fight. For us, it’s important because we don’t want to lose points at this stage of the season. We know the consequence of a bad period in this league in terms of points, so it’s important to start to be consistent as soon as possible and to stay in that way all through the season. The way we finished last season was fantastic and we will try to start this season with the same energy.”