Newcastle's French signings are breath of fresh air, says Steven Taylor

• Moussa Sissoko and Massadio Haïdara started in Villa win
• 'They wanted to be accepted and promised to give 100%'

As dressing-room initiations go, those undergone by French players at Newcastle United on Monday evening were routine. Crucially for Alan Pardew, an instant bond between his latest French imports and their new team-mates translated into a much-needed victory at Villa Park 24 hours later.

Mapou Yanga-M'biwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haïdara and Moussa Sissoko have arrived at St James' Park this month from France, further highlighting Pardew's favoured market for fresh talent. Sissoko and Gouffran started the 2-1 win at Villa.

Any sense that Pardew's Gallic influence could lead to a clash of cultures in the Newcastle squad has been dismissed by one of the English contingent, Steven Taylor.

"The manager presented each of the new players with a shirt and made them stand up in front of the group and say why they want to be here," Taylor explained. "They were telling the lads: 'Listen, if you give us the chance, we'll prove to you that we want to be here.'

"It was in French, but translated into English for the boys. We listened to what they had to say and that was touching for us. They said they wanted to be accepted into the team and promised they'd give 100%. That was exactly what we wanted to hear.

"Afterwards, some of the players got the French boys to sing in front of all of us. That got the banter going, welcome to the group. They might have been a bit embarrassed about it, but fair play to them, they got up there without arguing.

"It was a French song, I couldn't really understand it. But I'm learning a bit. I'm going to get a French CD for the car."

If that last point was in jest, Newcastle's league position had become a serious matter before the Midlands win bounced them back up to 15th in the Premier League. Sissoko's presence in midfield made a particular impact.

"He's a machine, he's an animal," Taylor said. "Players are trying to get near him and he's just bouncing them off. That's what we need, that big powerhouse there.

"It's a breath of fresh air for us. When you look around the dressing room and see new players, top-quality players, there's competition for places now. We've had a few little games among ourselves and you can see the desire from everybody challenging for places. You've got to step up to the plate because the gaffer's said to us: 'Anyone slacking, you're out of the side.'"

The victory over Paul Lambert's struggling team marked Newcastle's first away win in 18 attempts, prompting Pardew to claim in a post-match interview that supporters had travelled 14,000 miles on the road without witnessing victory. Its significance was not lost on Taylor, either.

"I absolutely loved it. For me, the feeling at the final whistle was the best I've ever experienced in a black and white shirt," Taylor added. "It's the best I've ever had during my time at Newcastle.

"I thought we outclassed them in the first half. We were fantastic. But it was a game of two halves and the second half was a proper Premier League game. It was a fighting performance from us in the end. To score a goal at home lifts their fans a bit and we knew we had to calm it down.

"At that point, we probably didn't know what to expect from the French lads because the Premier League is a completely different league to the French league, but they put in a fantastic performance and effort. We said after the game, there's no better feeling than the togetherness we felt afterwards."

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