Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Pardew acknowledges Cisse strike

Papiss Cisse netted a late winner for Newcastle
Papiss Cisse netted a late winner for Newcastle

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes Papiss Cisse's latest late show could be a turning point for the club this season as United's spirit again saw them pull another result out of the fire.

The Magpies appeared destined to be firmly sucked into the relegation mire on Sunday as the clock counted down towards a goalless draw with Fulham that would have left them three points above the drop zone.

But for the third successive match at St James' Park, Cisse struck an injury time for his 11th goal of the season to give Newcastle a 1-0 win over the Cottagers and a five-point cushion over the bottom three. Pardew said: "We all know how important that goal was."

The goal snapped a three-match losing streak, teeing up Pardew's side for a monumental week.

United first face an almighty hurdle in the second leg of a Europa League quarter-final at home to Benfica on Thursday as they trail 3-1, but one Pardew is convinced can be overcome.

Then on Sunday, Newcastle tackle bitter rivals Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby with new Black Cats boss Paolo Di Canio eager to make his mark as the club fight their own relegation battle.

Pardew added: "It was important for this week as we now have a fantastic one in front of us now. We have a quarter final where we cannot go gung-ho against Benfica because if we think we can get two quick goals and put things right in the first half then we are very much mistaken.

"Benfica will pick us off and we'll be chasing shadows, so we need to be very intelligent on Thursday. We need to play a very disciplined game.

"There's no reason, if we can get ourselves into a position where we are 1-0 up with 25 minutes to go, that we can't go through. I've been involved in many situations where one goal makes a season at different times.

"You've only got to look at Manchester City's goal last season, with the very last kick in the Premier League (that saw them take the title) to know how important one goal can be."

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