Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa says he has yet to hit top form after signing for the club in the last transfer window.
He was one of five January recruits at St James’ Park, all of whom were French speaking, and faced immediate difficulties with the club embroiled in a relegation battle.
They were ultimately successful in their bid for Premier League survival, and Mbiwa believes it has taken time to adapt to the demands of English football.
“When I first came to Newcastle, it was definitely complicated coming into an entirely different system,” he told the Shields Gazette.
“I have had to adapt to the English game, which wasn’t easy for me. It’s been a case of me working hard and really grafting in training.
“I’ve had half a season at Newcastle United. I now know how everything works, and I can’t wait until next season so we can get stuck in.”
After a difficult opening to his career in England, the France international is confident that he and his fellow signings can all have a big impact at the club in 2013-14.
“I’m sure all the French players who came this year can do well next season,” he added.
“All the French players had worked under different managers, so we had to come in and each one of us had to buy the manager’s philosophy.
“Each manager has his own way of doing things, of course, so there were different things we needed to get used to.
“But he knows our qualities, he signed us, so he knows the abilities we have.
“He knows what we can give to his team.”