Alan Pardew says the stars of his engine room Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote will be firing on all cylinders for their clash with Sunderland this weekend.
The pair retuned to the Newcastle line-up on Saturday for the 2-2 draw with Wolves, after Cabaye served a domestic suspension and Tiote made his long-awaited comeback following his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.
But, despite racing into a two-goal lead, Newcastle were pegged back and Pardew admitted his midfield aces were not at their best.
"They will be much better for this," he said.
"You've got to understand that this is the Premier League, it's a different level to the Africa Cup of Nations for Cheick, and Cabaye has been out for three weeks.
"We need both of them because they are top players, we know that.
"They have been brilliant against three midfield players in the past, but in this game I thought they got bossed a bit."