PAPISS Demba Cisse says Newcastle’s players are united behind under-fire boss Alan Pardew.
Cisse made a dramatic goalscoring comeback from a five-month spell on the sidelines on Saturday.
The striker came off the bench at St James’s Park with his team trailing Hull City by two goals.
And Cisse scored twice to claim a point from a 2-2 draw.
The Premier League game was played out amid more protests against Pardew, whose side have struggled in front of goal so far this season.
But Cisse – who pulled up his United jersey to reveal a T-shirt with a message to Jonas Gutierrez after scoring his first goal – has insisted that the squad is pulling together behind Pardew.
“I know it’s very, very hard for him,” Cisse told the Gazette.
“In the video room together, he said that we had to be disciplined and work hard together as a team.
“We had to forget everything else and concentrate on the pitch and play football.”
Cisse – who suffered a fractured kneecap in April – had scored just two goals in his previous 30 league games.
And the 29-year-old, pressed back into action by Pardew a week early, was just happy to be able to play his part after such a long time on the sidelines.
“I have had an injury and have just had to believe in myself,” said the Senegal internationl.
“I have seen the team work hard on the training ground. (On Saturday), we showed that out on the pitch.
“I’m a just happy man. I came today, back from injury, and scored two goals and gained one point for the team.
“I think the team worked very, very hard. If you see all the game, Newcastle did well and I’m just a happy man.
“I feel strong. In my head, during the week, I didn’t think I’d be playing. I started training on Tuesday. Then, on Friday, the gaffer said ‘I think I’ll put you on the bench because you look right and good’.
“And I was OK. He put me on the bench, and then I scored two goals. I’m happy.
Cisse – the club’s only out-and-out senior goalscorer – must now build on his explosive comeback and put the problems of the past two seasons, when he struggled to convert the few chances that came his way, behind him.
“Last year was very, very hard,” said Cisse. “I knew that last year had been hard, and this year I just needed to do my best in all the games.
“I needed to work hard on the training ground and, come the games, be strong and work hard.
With United’s new-look team crying out for goals, there is now a weight of responsibility on Cisse’s shoulders, but he insists he is not burdened by the extra pressure.
Cisse, having been in the shadows for so long, just wants to play.
He said: “No, it’s not pressure for me. I’m just happy. It’s just a case of going to play football.
“It’s been a long time out with injury but I have kept my smile all the time. In training, I have been happy all the time.”
Cisse’s T-shirt was emblazoned with ‘Always looking forward, Jonas’ in tribute to popular Newcastle winger Gutierrez, who is battling cancer in his native Argentina.
“It was very important for me and the team,” he said.
“I remember the first goal I scored in England (against Aston Villa at St James’s Park). Jonas crossed the ball. I scored a nice goal.
“He makes me smile all the time when he is on the training ground. He is, all the time, happy. I just wanted to thank him for everything.
“I spoke to Jonas and he told me to get a goal. So those goals were for him – and the gaffer too.”