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Pardew hopes deflection will spark Cisse into life
ALAN Pardew hopes Papiss Cisse's fortuitous stoppage-time winner against West Brom will spark a marked improvement in the striker's fortunes.
Sammy Ameobi's long-range shot hit Cisse's back to completely wrong-foot Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster and secure a 2-1 victory that had looked unlikely as Newcastle were completely outplayed after the interval.
Cisse knew nothing at all about the deflection, but it resulted in only his third goal of the season in all competitions and his first success in the Premier League since the start of May.
The Senegal international started the game on the bench, with Pardew preferring Shola Ameobi for the second league game in succession, but the Magpies manager is hoping the dramatic deflection will mark a turning point in Cisse's season.
“I think Papiss' rear is claiming the goal,” joked Pardew, who had earlier seen Romelu Lukaku cancel out Demba Ba's first-half volley. “He looked up to Allah at the end there, knowing that he played a part.
“He's an important player. It's really difficult sometimes with strikers. In training, he looks exactly the same player (as last season). He doesn't look short of confidence and he's smashing goals in from everywhere. He's a good trainer, but sometimes you get these runs where you don't get a goal. So that goal will do him no end of good, and hopefully benefit us as well.”
The deflected strike secured Newcastle's first league win in more than a month and restored Pardew's side to the top half of the table.
Their success looked like being rather more simple as they dictated matters in the first half, but such was West Brom's dominance after the break that Newcastle were fortunate to be on level terms as the game entered stoppage time.
The Magpies were completely overrun in the second half, and with yesterday's game coming just three days after Thursday's Europa League win over Club Brugge, Pardew admits fatigue was a factor.
“We've had a tough week,” he said. “We've had a derby (against Sunderland), and played well in both halves, and had Brugges on Thursday night. We played well in both halves of that game as well.
“We played well in the first half here because West Brom are a good side, but in the second half I think we just ran out of steam. Physically and emotionally, we were tired. We didn't have any rhythm, but our honesty got us through.
“That got us to the last minute, and if you shoot, you never know what can happen. That's what won us the game, and we'll take that because we haven't had many breaks this season. We conceded the goal at Sunderland when maybe we deserved to win, but we got a goal today, and I make no bones about it, we didn't deserve to win either.”
West Brom started the day in sixth position, and on the evidence of their second-half display, Steve Clarke's side could provide Newcastle with strong competition in the battle for a European spot.
“West Brom were excellent and they have a real assurance about them,” said Pardew. “Everybody wanted the ball and they made it difficult for us. He'll (Clarke) be very disappointed not to even get a draw.
“He'll probably feel as though he could have won it because at the end of the game, it was them who were pushing for the win. We didn't look like we had too many ideas at that time. But that's football. It's about honesty sometimes, and we defended well and were diligent in terms of getting back into our positions. That probably got us the win.”
The main negative to emerge from the afternoon was a shin injury to Demba Ba that could keep the striker out of next weekend's trip to Liverpool.
“I wouldn't say it's a major concern, but Demba is sore,” said Pardew. “Whether he can make next week or not, I don't know.”