PAPISS Demba Cisse says he never stopped believing in himself – and he’s keeping the faith at Newcastle United.
The striker has made an explosive return to form after two barren years in front of goal.
Cisse, set to lead the line against Leicester City at St James’s Park tomorrow after returning from international duty, has scored four goals in three appearances after making a timely comeback from long-term injury.
The 29-year-old, in the Senegal team beaten 1-0 by Tunisia in Tunis on Wednesday night, was today being assessed at the club’s Benton training ground after making the journey back from Africa.
Cisse knows the weight of goalscoring responsibility now rests on his shoulders.
He scored just four goals last season, when on-loan Loic Remy was the team’s main striker.
While Cisse found it hard being out of the team for long spells, he was happy for Remy, whose 14 goals ensured United finished in the top half of the Premier League.
Now back in the starting XI, Cisse is determined to bring more goals to Newcastle over the coming weeks and months.
“I need to score more goals,” said Cisse.
“For me, I feel very, very good. I need to work hard all the time.
“Last year was very hard, but I was so happy for Remy to score a lot of goals.
“Seriously, I’m not a striker that says ‘why am I not playing?’.
“I just say ‘thank you for coming here and scoring a lot of goals’.”
Winless United are third form bottom of the league, and supporters have chanted against manager Alan Pardew – and owner Mike Ashley – over the first two months of the campaign.
Fans have endured a miserable year so far from their side on the field.
Cisse understands their unhappiness, but he has faith in his team-mates, who he insists are working hard on the training field to lift the club out of the relegation zone.
“I understand the fans when the fans are not happy – it’s normal that they show it,” Cisse told the Gazette.
“Me, I’m just a Newcastle player. I need to play well and work hard for this team.
“I know it’s not easy. I just want to work hard on the training ground, and the team needs to keep going.”
He added: “I believe in this team.”
Cisse made a quicker-than-expected recovery from the broken kneecap he suffered in April, and Pardew pressed him back into action early last month.
The former Freiburg striker came off the bench against Hull City with his team trailing 2-0 – and he scored two goals.
Despite a lack of fitness – Cisse missed the club’s pre-season campaign – he has given the team a cutting edge.
Cisse, however, admits the injury still plays on his mind.
“All the time I think about this injury, but I just put it out of my head,” he said.
“I need to be happy, play all the games and enjoy (my football).
“I need to be careful sometimes with my knee, as I came back early, but I’m just happy.”