Seydou Doumbia lifts lid on Newcastle spell: I was in good shape but Benitez didn’t rate me

Seydou Doumbia (centre) walks off the pitch dejected after the final whistle at Stoke
Seydou Doumbia (centre) walks off the pitch dejected after the final whistle at Stoke

Seydou Doumbia has lifted the lid on his ill-fated loan spell at Newcastle United.

The Ivorian striker joined the Magpies on transfer deadline day in a surprise move from Italian side Roma.

But despite arriving on Tyneside with a reputation as a fine finisher, who had scored plenty goals in the Champions League, Doumbia failed to start a game for Newcastle.

Instead, he was restricted to just three substitute appearances totalling 29 minutes, and didn’t play for the club after Rafa benitez’s first game in charge against leicester, when he came off the bench for the last few seconds.

Doumbia, however, insists he doesn’t regret his spell at the club.

“I received an interesting experience, if not the most successful,” he said.

“Of course, not everything turned out exactly as we would like. But in football, as in life, every experience is useful.”

Doumbia appeared to be a panic signing by Newcastle after they missed out on No 1 January strike target Saido Berahino.

He looked terrible when making his debut off the bench in the 5-1 defeat at Chelsea, but almost grabbed a vital equaliser against Stoke, only to be denied by Jack Butland.

However, after Steve McClaren was sacked and Benitez came in, the Spaniard dropped Doumbia completely from his squad, not even including him among the substitues as doubts over his fitness surfaced.

The 28-year-old, however, insits his conditioning was not an issue behind his Newcastle failure.

“The reason is not that I was in bad shape,” he added. “Just every coach is looking at his team play and its composition on a given match.

“Benitez, apparently, initially did not see a place for me on the field. This right coach, I can not blame him.”