Papiss Cisse on crunch ‘face-to-face’ talks at Newcastle

Papiss Cisse
Papiss Cisse

Papiss Cisse says every second counts for him at Newcastle United.

The striker has started the club’s last two games ahead of summer signing Aleksandar Mitrovic.

It’s not easy sometimes, but I have to keep my head up and take my chances and show something for the gaffer and the players as well.

Steve McClaren

And Cisse is desperate to keep his place in Steve McClaren’s starting XI, having found regularly himself on the bench this season for the first time in his career at St James’s Park.

The 30-year-old is expected to again lead the line for relegation-threatened United against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

With Mitrovic – who was dropped after the club’s home defeat to Leicester City – pushing for a recall, Cisse knows he must take every chance he gets.

“I try to do my job every minute they give me,” said Cisse.

“I have to play well every time.

“It’s not easy sometimes, but I have to keep my head up and take my chances and show something for the gaffer and the players as well.

“The players believe in me, and the gaffer as well.

“Sometimes I get five minutes, but the gaffer is giving me 80 or 90 minutes, and I’m happy.”

Cisse – who has scored two Premier League goals so far this season – feels he is getting sharper with every game.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “I know myself, if I work hard, I can show something good.

“If I get the ball, I can score goals.

It’s not easy sometimes, but I keep going. I’m happy and I smile every time.

“The important thing was the three points.”

Newcastle climbed one place in the Premier League to 18th after last Sunday’s 2-0 win over Liverpool.

The previous weekend’s 5-1 defeat to Crystal Palace had led to some soul searching behind the scenes at the club.

Cisse admits “heads were down” in the wake of the result at Selhurst Park, where he had opened the scoring.

But a series of meetings cleared the air ahead of the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s side – and McClaren’s side was unrecognisable against Liverpool.

“Heads were down after the game we lost against Crystal Palace,” said Cisse.

“We had to keep our heads up and to do something and to show something.

“We have good players, but if you lose every week, your heads go down.

“The gaffer spoke a lot, and the players as well. We spoke face to face. We needed to do something.

“We worked very hard together and won the game.

“We were very happy. All the players did everything together.

“We were very happy with the three points.

“It’s hard to get three points in this league. All the players, and the gaffer, spoke together. We needed points.

“Every player had that in their head. We had to win our duels, and we did that.”

United have won their last two league games at White Hart Lane, but fifth-placed Tottenham look a tougher proposition this season.

Cisse, however, believes McClaren’s team can get another result ahead of a crucial home game against basement club Aston Villa on December 19.

“I have confidence in my team-mates every game,” said the Senegal international. “I worked with these people every single day and I know what we can do.

“The Premier League is not easy. It’s very hard. You have to take it game by game and work hard every Saturday. I believe in my team.”

McClaren’s position had come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the Palace result and performance. And bookmakers had slashed the odds on him becoming the league’s next managerial casualty.

Garry Monk was sacked by Swansea City this week, and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho, remarkably, is now the favourite in the sack race.

Cisse, for his part, insists the players and staff are fully behind head coach McClaren.

He said: “That’s his team. The manager, the staff and the players are working as a team.

“It’s like a team – everyone is working together to help each other.”