Cisse not in it for himself
Papiss Cisse does not care who scores the goals as long as Newcastle secure their Barclays Premier League status.
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13. Djibril Cisse
The Senegal international smashed home a stunning goal in his side's 4-2 home victory over Southampton on Sunday to rekindle memories of his thrilling contribution to last season's surge into the top five.
However, he was more pleased with a victory which took the club to 30 points and eased them six clear of the relegation zone.
Cisse said: "I just want to get points, win each match and get as many points as we can to get out of a difficult situation.
"My objective is to get points. Whoever scores, whether it be me, whether it be someone else, all we want is for the team to get points and to move up the league.
"Yesterday the manager told everyone, 'If you win tomorrow, you have 30 points and it's very good for the team'. All the players had that in their minds."
As so often in the past, Newcastle had to do it the hard way after Southampton got off to a flying start at St James' Park.
Morgan Schneiderlin fired the visitors into a third-minute lead with the Magpies sluggish in the early stages, and it took half an hour for them to restore parity when Moussa Sissoko applied the finishing touch to a flowing move involving compatriots Yohan Cabaye and Yoan Gouffran.
However, it was Cisse who took up the baton three minutes before the break when keeper Rob Elliot's clearance sat up nicely for him 30 yards from goal and he lashed it past helpless keeper Artur Boruc off the underside of the crossbar.
It was his eighth goal of the season and ended a four-game barren spell.
Cisse said: "It's the top one this year. I haven't scored too many goals this year. It's difficult for me sometimes, but I try all the time.
"Last year, it was too easy - I shot and it was a goal - but this year, I don't know, it's a little bit more difficult.
"But I try - maybe it's coming."
However, Cisse's thunderbolt was not to prove decisive and Rickie Lambert, who had already forced a fine save from Premier League debutant Elliot, levelled from Adam Lallana's 50th-minute cross.
The Magpies restored their lead with 67 minutes played after referee Chris Foy, perhaps harshly, awarded a penalty against substitute Danny Fox when he blocked Mathieu Debuchy's volleyed cross with his arm, and Cabaye duly obliged from the spot.
There was further misfortune for Fox 11 minutes from time when his attempted clearance struck team-mate Jos Hooiveld and flew past Boruc into the net, and the points were safe.
Manager Alan Pardew said: "Thirty points with 10, 11 [games] to go, whatever it is, we are in a good position now and we can attack the top 10.
"If we finish like Everton did last year, we can take it into the year after.
"We have got long contracts with all these players, we haven't got a Demba Ba situation and suddenly, things look a lot clearer - and we have got the fantastic excitement of the Europa League."
Former Saints boss Pardew was hugely impressed with the performance of Mauricio Pochettino's men, and is convinced they will remain in the Premier League next season.
He said: "They are a good team - they won't go down, no way."
His confidence is shared by Pochettino and goalscorer Schneiderlin.
The midfielder told the club's official website, www.saintsfc.co.uk: "We didn't try to get too carried away when we won against Manchester City, and today we will not get too down about losing in Newcastle.
"That's football and sometimes you have an off day. I don't think we had an off day, but we lost the game and now we need to bounce back.
"We are very confident that we can avoid relegation, and I think we will, but it's by bouncing back and having a good performance against QPR."
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Newcastle midfielder Sammy Ameobi has joined npower Championship neighbours Middlesbrough on loan for the remainder of the season.