Carver backing match-winner Cisse
Published 23/03/2014 | 07:37
Newcastle assistant manager John Carver has backed striker Papiss Cisse to embark on a scoring run after heading the Magpies to a last-gasp victory over Crystal Palace.
The Senegal international struck with his first goal since January 4 and just his second of the season in the Barclays Premier League when he dispatched substitute Hatem Ben Arfa's 94th-minute cross in front of owner Mike Ashley.
Cisse, who passed up two good opportunities during last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Fulham, had earlier been denied three times by Palace keeper Julian Speroni and missed his kick from point-blank range seconds before his big chance arrived.
Carver, deputising for the banned Alan Pardew at the post-match press conference, said: "When Hatem came inside, I thought he was going to shoot, but he had the sense to stick it on Papiss' head and he probably took the hardest chance, because it came quickly.
"Of all the chances he had today, he guided it past the goalkeeper, and there's nobody more pleased for him than me.
"Last week, we didn't create a great deal, but the two chances fell to Papiss. I said after the game last week how hard he does work on the training ground to put that right, and he certainly did that today.
"He's not going missing, he's not hiding and sometimes you can when you are lacking in confidence."
Newcastle left it desperately late to claim a victory they probably deserved after being thwarted repeatedly by Speroni while squandering a series of other opportunities.
On another day, Cisse might have left with the matchball, but ultimately, his injury-time header claimed the spoils in the nick of time.
Cheick Tiote had rattled the crossbar two minutes earlier with the Magpies engaged in an all-out assault on the Palace goal, but the woodwork had previously saved them after Yannick Bolasie's 56th-minute shot had evaded keeper Tim Krul.
Asked if the goal might belatedly kick-start Cisse's season, Carver said: "You'd like to think so. There are only eight games left, so if he goes on a run from now until the end of the season, he'll have had a good season, I think.
"He is a confidence-type player and you know what strikers are like, if they get one goal, sometimes they get two, three, four goals, so hopefully."
Palace boss Tony Pulis was a disappointed man as he left St James' Park, claiming his side should have had a free-kick seconds before Cisse struck, and that the goal had come after stoppage time had elapsed.
Pulis said: "The disappointing this is, if you look at the video, we thought we should have had a free-kick outside their box with a minute to go - well, there was 20 seconds to go - and then they come down and they score, which is over time.
"In the first half, he (referee Lee Probert) played, I think, a minute and 40 seconds over time and the second half, I think it's 3.40 when they score the goal.
"The fourth official said it was time when (Mike) Williamson actually handballed it - if he handballed it - so from them going down the bottom, I think it was 40 seconds."
Pardew watched the game via a video-link from the club's training ground, but Carver spoke to him minutes after the final whistle.
He said: "He's the manager, he is just doing it from seven or eight miles away. But he is pleased.
"I think he is coming to the stadium later on, because I think his ban finished when the ball went into the back of the net, so he is coming later on to have a chat and I will have a beer with him."