We don't know why he's not scoring but Cisse will prove net worth, insists Pardew
22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has backed goal-shy Papiss Cisse to re-discover his goalscoring prowess, and believes the 8million striker is a better player than last year.
It is nearly a year since the Senegal international joined Newcastle from Freiburg. He scored on his debut as a substitute against Aston Villa and finished the season with 13 goals in 14 games, while his partner Demba Ba found the net just once.
This season, with Ba claiming the central striking role in a new-look Newcastle, and Cisse playing mainly on the right flank, he has only found the net twice in the Barclays Premier League while Ba has 11, second only behind Michu and Robin van Persie.
Off target: Papiss Cisse has been below his best in front of goal this season
On Saturday, Pardew was booed by home fans when he replaced Cisse with match-winner Shola Ameobi and the unhappy striker reluctantly shook his manager’s hand.
But Pardew is insistent the 27-year-old will have a crucial role to play for the remainder of the season, especially when Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye return from injuries in the New Year, and he has new recruits. With Ba’s Newcastle future still in the balance as the club await the dreaded 7.5million bids which will invoke his release clause, Cisse could be back as centre forward very soon.
And Pardew admitted: ‘Papiss is a victim of our injury problems. Without Ben Arfa and Cabaye we have lacked quality in the last third and have not created a lot of moments for him to score.
Backing: Alan Pardew is confident Cisse will rediscover his form
'Hopefully we can create more moments for him and he will start scoring goals soon.
‘I can confidently predict Papiss will score more goals in the second half of the season. In some respects playing right has helped his game and his ball retention.
'He needed to improve on that as a striker and I thought, even last year when he was scoring goals, that was a weakness in his game.
‘He has improved that. It has taken the pressure off him to score goals that has helped a little bit. He’s still had chances.
'When you look at him in training, we are a little bit perplexed as to why he’s not scoring goals. But he is getting there, getting chances and that’s the main thing.’