ALAN Pardew’s determined to hold on to Demba Ba – despite his agent’s outburst against him.
Ba’s representative, Alex Gontran, yesterday said the 27-year-old “doesn’t understand the management” at Newcastle United.
Gontran’s provocative comments came in the wake of Pardew’s decision to name Ba as a substitute on Monday night, when he came off the bench to score two goals in a 2-2 draw against Everton.
Pardew’s team selection didn’t sit well with Ba, who said after the match he hadn’t been happy with one or two issues behind the scenes at St James’s Park.
Gontran went further in an interview with the BBC, questioning Pardew’s decision to field Ba on the left wing in the second half of last season.
While the Gazette understands there is frustration behind the scenes at Gontran’s decision to go public with Ba’s greivances, the club, which is not looking to sell Ba, has made no public comment on the situation.
However, Pardew – who flew to Madeira with his players this morning ahead of tomorrow night’s game against Maritimo – will be asked about Ba at his pre-match Press conference at the Estadio dos Barreiros tonight.
United are aware that Ba’s name was touted around Europe in the summer, when he was available for a knockdown £7m.
Newcastle, given Gontran’s suggestion that “we’ll look at other solutions” if Ba “continues to be a substitute all season”, are braced for more speculation over his future between now and the turn of the year.
Gontran spoke of a “lack of recognition” for Ba after his goal-laden first few monts at United last season.
“Since returning from the African Cup of Nations, Demba doesn’t understand the management,” said Gontran. “How could you put your best striker, with full confidence, on the left wing.
“The choice to put Demba on the left last season was good for the club, because (Papiss Demba) Cisse scored 13 goals
“But there’s a lack of recognition for Demba. It’s more difficult to play well when you don’t have the confidence of your staff.”
Ba’s strikes against Everton took his tally for the season to three goals, though Cisse has yet to open his account.
Everton boss David Moyes – who tried to sign Ba before he joined Newcastle last summer – hailed the striker’s impact, calling the all-Senegalese strikeforce a ‘handful’.
“I thought they were a much bigger threat (in the second half) because of the two players up front,” said Moyes.
“They put us under a lot more pressure with Cisse and Ba together, and it caused us problems. Obviously, it got them a draw in the end.
“Maybe the system (in the first half) gave us a chance.
“In the second half, they made sure they got the ball up to Ba and Cisse as often as they could. They’re a handful, and they proved that.”
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