NEWCASTLE United are proving there’s life after Demba Ba – that’s the verdict of Ba’s Senegalese countryman Papiss Cisse.
Cisse has led the line since Ba’s transfer-window switch to Chelsea. And the 27-year-old scored his best goal of the season yet – a stunning 30-yarder – in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Southampton.
It was the first time this season that Newcastle had won back-to-back home Premier League games, and the result lifted the club above Sunderland and into 14th place.
There were fears leading scorer Ba’s exit would see the goals dry up at St James’s Park. But United’s five transfer-window signings have seen Alan Pardew’s side win four of their last six games at home and abroad.
“We have a new set-up here now,” Cisse said. “Demba Ba was very important and scored a lot of goals – we can’t forget that – but the manager has made some fantastic signings here, and now we’re ready to turn the page.”
Cisse’s latest goal took his tally for the season to eight goals. And he’s hoping he has put a “difficult” first half of the season, which saw him played out wide, behind him.
But the strker, signed from German club Freiburg just over a year ago, isn’t setting himself any targets.
“I don’t have any firm objectives at all, to be honest,” he added. “Personally, I feel good. Perhaps I am not in a position to be top scorer this season, but my personal objectives this season are to get as many points as possible for the team and to climb up the Premier League.
“If I score more, then maybe the team can get a top 10 finish.”
H Dan Gosling made his Newcastle United comeback from injury last night, playing 79 minutes of the development squad’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.
Newcastle equalised twice, through Adam Campbell and Rolando Aarons.
H Striker Sammy Ameobi was sent out on loan to Middlesbrough yesterday, but he is cup-tied for Boro’s FA Cup fifth round clash with Chelsea tomorrow.