Newcastle's Sissoko aiming high
Moussa Sissoko is hoping there is much more to come from Newcastle after announcing his arrival on Tyneside in style with a match-winning display against Chelsea.
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18. Moussa Sissoko
The 23-year-old France international's second-half double rescued victory from the jaws of defeat for the Magpies as the European champions succumbed late in the day once again.
Alan Pardew's men moved six points clear of the relegation zone as a result of their first back-to-back Barclays Premier League wins of the season, although January signing Sissoko knows there is still much hard work to do.
He said: "I am very happy, but we can't forget the fact that this was a team performance. The team worked together.
"I played well, but it was a team effort.
"We came away with three points as a team and I hope we can go away and continue to perform like that to climb up the Premier League as high as we possibly can."
Sissoko's introduction to English football has been little short of spectacular, and the early signs are that the fee his new employers paid for him - officially undisclosed, but understood to be in the region of £2million - is another bargain.
Pardew admitted after losing striker Demba Ba to Chelsea at the beginning of the winter transfer window that his side lacked pace and power, and both were in evidence in the shape of the former Toulouse midfielder.
But it was Argentina international Jonas Gutierrez who set the ball rolling for the home side four minutes before the break, ending an indifferent run of form by climbing above John Terry to glance Davide Santon's inviting cross past Petr Cech and into the bottom corner.
Before the game could restart, Ba's return to Tyneside ended prematurely and painfully as he left the field with his face heavily bandaged.
The Senegal international had been hurt 10 minutes earlier when he taken former team-mate Fabricio Coloccini's boot full in the face as he attempted to head home after keeper Tim Krul had parried his initial shot.
Furious manager Rafael Benitez later revealed that Ba's nose was broken and suggested, with some justification that his side should have been awarded a penalty, and with less, that the defender should have been sent off.
However, the Blues turned the game around inside six second-half minutes when first Frank Lampard lashed an unstoppable shot past Krul and then Juan Mata caressed a beautiful curling effort into the top corner.
Newcastle's hopes looked to be over as they wilted in the face of a storm, but it was then that Sissoko stepped up to the plate.
It was he who made up the ground to pounce when Cech could only beat away fellow home debutant Yoan Gouffran's 68th-minute shot, and he who, with seconds of normal time remaining, drilled the winner past Cech from Santon's astute square ball.
Sissoko said: "I gave 100 per cent, the very best I could. I was signed to do that, to give everything to fight from the first to the 90th minute.
"That's what I tried to do, even though it's not always easy. I went out there from the very first minute until the very last minute and worked as hard as I could."
Sissoko's heroics made him an instant hit at St James' Park as the Toon Army rose to acclaim a new talisman.
He said: "I'm settling in really well. When I am not training, I walk around the city and the supporters will come over and ask me for an autograph, and it makes me feel fantastic when that happens."
If victory put a smile on the faces of the locals, defeat did not sit well with the travelling supporters, although Benitez was refusing to bow to the mounting pressure with his side now 16 points adrift of leaders Manchester United.
He said: "The team is doing well. If you analyse the games, we could have won every single game we have drawn or lost, every single game.
"In all the games, we have had chances, we have played good football in the majority of them and when we couldn't, still we have had chances to win.
"That's football. In football, you can win, you can lose or you can draw. Today, we had a good reaction and that is positive.
"Next week, we have players coming back. Hopefully, we can play well, we can win and then carry on."