PAPISS Demba Cisse says he’s happy to still be at Newcastle United – and happier still to be back on the goal trail.
Cisse’s 11th strike of the season gave the club a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at St James’s Park on Saturday.
It has been quite hard, but I have always kept on working and trying to have a smile on my face.Papiss Demba Cisse
The striker had been linked with a move away from Newcastle in last month’s transfer window.
And United head coach John Carver told of his relief that the striker, the subject of interest from United Arab Emirates club Al-Ahli in the January transfer window, had stayed on Tyneside.
For his part, Cisse, now preparing for Wednesday night’s home game against Manchester United, is just glad to be a regular in the starting XI – and on the scoresheet.
“I am here, and I am happy to be a Newcastle player,” Cisse told the Gazette.
“There have been times where it has not been especially easy for me, because I have been playing and then I have not been playing.
“It has been quite hard, but I have always kept on working and trying to have a smile on my face.
“I am happy to be here at Newcastle, although I want to play as well.”
Cisse scored with United’s first shot on target, the 29-year-old taking down a teasing cross from Daryl Janmaat before neatly finishing past Brad Guzan.
“It was a nice finish, and that’s what I work for all the time on the training ground,” said the Senegal international.
“I try to practise those kind of finishes because, as a striker, when chances like that come, you have to take them.
“The ball came into the box, and I got onto it quickly.
“Because I am a striker, I need to be able to do things like that quickly because that can make the difference in allowing you to score.
“It was the only real chance I had in the game, but thankfully I could make it into a good goal. Whenever I am on the pitch, I am trying to score.
“I want to get three points for my team, that is my objective. I want Newcastle to get as many points as they can because that will help us climb up in the table.”
Carver said after the match that the result was all-important after the previous weekend’s 5-0 drubbing at Manchester City.
And Cisse said: “We were saying all week that we had to put things right and win the game. I don’t think we played all that well, but we got the three points and that was always going to be the most important thing.
“I’m very happy to have got the three points.
“We had to forget about last week and we did that, that’s why we’re so happy to have got the win.
“It was an important victory and it sets us up nicely for the game on Wednesday against Manchester United. We need to be ready for that.
“It’s not going to be easy because it’s Manchester United, but I think every player will be excited to play in this game.
“I hope we can get some rest and get more energy because this game is not going to be easy.”
Meanwhile, Carver feels he is the right man to get the best out of Cisse.
“I have always had a very close relationship with Papiss,” said Carver. “I don’t know what it is, but something clicked.
“I have always liked him. He is a great character. He is always smiling and that is what I like about him. That is why I have developed a friendship with him.
“When Alan (Pardew) was here, he’d work with the defence and I would do work with the attackers, so we are close.
“Maybe it was just his crazy sense of humour that appealed to me. In the past when he has scored goals he would often run towards me.
“He knows I have always had faith in him. I always believed in him even when he wasn’t scoring.”