Diame: "I know what it is like to play in the play-offs"

Diame: "I know what it is like to play in the play-offs"

As Newcastle United grab their top spot back, midfielder Mo Diame explains the importance of automatic promotion.

Katie Mishner

Under Rafa Benitez it is easy to name multiple players that have flourished at Newcastle United. Mo Diame is one of those as he has steadily began etching his name onto the starting eleven sheet, with his vastly improved performances.

The Sengalese netted an impressive goal to open the scoring against Wigan Athletic, while also picking up praise from his Manager and the fans for his showing against Birmingham City.

The importance of being on top

Following the game, in which Newcastle ascended back to the top of the league after a short one day hiatus, the midfielder said: “I’m very pleased we’re back top, we saw that Brighton had done well so it was very important we won. We did it so I’m very happy."

Despite the narrow gap between first and second place, there is a huge nine points separating the Toon from a play-off place, the former Hull man highlights the value in this as he detailed, “Definitely that [the nine-point gap to third] is very important."

He added, "I know what it’s like to play in the play-offs and I don’t want to play in it again.So we want to secure automatic promotion as soon as possible."

Finding form away from home

Newcastle's form away from home has been consistent for the first time in a long while, as the team look like they can perform wherever they go.

Diame puts this down to tactical intelligence as he said: “We just try to give our best and we know away from home the other team has to go out and attack because they are at home so they give us more space."

The midfielder further explained, “When we play at home, teams just stay behind and try to not concede. When we play away they have to come out and give some space to our strikers to run in behind."

Diame gave some final thoughts on their midweek victory, he said: "Wigan put us under some pressure and we knew that when we were winning only 1-0 they were going to come back after half-time and push."

He added, “Even in this situation we kept our confidence and Christian Atsu came on and gave us this run and the legs to score the second one and make it a little bit more comfortable."

Following another away win, the Mags will pay a visit to Burton Albion. Like Wigan, Burton were promoted to the Championship this season and Diame is ready for the challenge: “It’s good for us and now we can get ready for the next one,” he added. I haven’t played at Burton before, it’s going to be my first time."

He concluded, "We’re just going to go there and try to bring back the three points.”