MOUSSA Sissoko says he made the right move in joining Newcastle United – despite their precarious league position.
And the midfielder is determined to build on his stunning introduction to English football.
Sissoko’s two second-half goals saw Newcastle come from behind to beat Chelsea on Saturday.
The Magpies were struggling for form before the powerful 23-year-old’s arrival on Tyneside.
But the France international – who set up Papiss Cisse’s winner over Aston Villa on his debut – has hit the ground running, and he says the victory – which lifted Newcastle six points clear of the relegation zone – was one of the best moments of his career to date.
“It’s up there with my best moments of my career,” Sissoko said.
“I’m not sure if it’s quite the best yet, but to score on my home debut, and get a brace against the European champions Chelsea and come away with three points, is absolutely fantastic.
“Even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined that!
“I’m happy to come away with the victory. We now have the confidence to go on and win more games.”
It was meant to be striker Demba Ba’s day as he returned to St James’ Park, where he had played for 18 months in a black and white shirt.
But having arrived to a less than harmonious welcome, with some Newcastle fans accusing him of chasing the money by heading for Stamford Bridge last month, he departed prematurely with a bloodied nosed to more catcalls after just 42 minutes.
Cisse, the man Pardew hopes will supply the goals which once came from Ba, saw a fifth-minute effort blocked by defender Gary Cahill, but then failed to test returning keeper Petr Cech adequately when played in by Sissoko after 20 minutes and then Yohan Cabaye 16 minutes later.
Cabaye and full-back Davide Santon both sent rasping volleys just off target in an end-to-end contest in which the Magpies gave as good as they got.
However, Chelsea might have gone in front twice, Lampard blasting high over from Ashley Cole’s 15th-minute pull-back, and then Ba forcing a 32nd-minute save from Tim Krul before heading the rebound inches wide under pressure from Fabricio Coloccini, whose boot caused the damage which forced his exit.
The opening goal eventually arrived four minutes before the break. Newcastle’s final ball had at times been ordinary, but Santon produced a telling cross to allow Gutierrez to glance a deft header across Cech and into the bottom corner.
Chelsea returned in the second half in determined mood to pin the Magpies back into their own half, and as Pardew’s men retreated, Cisse found himself isolated in attack despite the best efforts of Sissoko and Gouffran.
They were back on terms within 10 minutes in stunning style when Lampard controlled Cole’s pass on his chest, took another touch and then lashed a dipping shot past the helpless Krul.
Things might have been worse for Newcastle on the hour when James Perch gifted the ball to Oscar and the visitors broke at pace for Mata to cross for Lampard, but he headed straight at Krul.
The Dutchman was not so fortunate seconds later, however, when Torres laid the ball back to Mata, who curled a superb left-foot shot over Krul and into the top corner.
John Terry only just managed to prevent Cisse from connecting with Santon’s 65th-minute cross in front of goal, but Krul had to back-pedal hurriedly to keep out Branislav Ivanovic’s speculative effort from his own half a minute later.
However, the home side dragged themselves back into it with 22 minutes remaining when, after Cech had parried Gouffran’s effort, Sissoko steered the rebound home.
Cech had to be at his best to palm away Sissoko’s searing drive after he had run away from Cole down the right, and the former Toulouse midfielder tore the Blues open once again seven minutes from time before cutting inside Cahill, only to toe-poke his effort straight at Cech.
But the Czech Republic international could not deny the Frenchman in the final minutes when he exchanged passes with Santon before drilling a sweet drive past Cech to win it.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Perch, Cabaye, Gouffran (Marveaux 84), Sissoko (Yanga-Mbiwa 90), Gutierrez, Cisse. Subs Not Used: Elliot, Anita, Bigirimana, Obertan, Shola Ameobi. Booked: Perch, Cisse. Goals: Gutierrez 41, Sissoko 68, 90.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Mata, Bertrand, Ba (Torres 43). Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Azpilicueta, Benayoun, Ake. Booked: Ramires, Cole, Mata. Goals: Lampard 55, Mata 61.
Att: 52, 314 Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).