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Monday 11 December 2017

Carver salutes match-winner Cisse

Papiss Cisse settled the game for Newcastle
Papiss Cisse settled the game for Newcastle

Head coach John Carver was grateful for Newcastle's decision not to sell striker Papiss Cisse in January after he fired the club to their first home win of 2015 against Aston Villa.

The Senegal international was the subject of interest from the Middle East during the winter transfer window, but the Magpies hierarchy supported Carver's desire to keep him and were rewarded when he struck to secure a 1-0 victory at St James' Park with his 11th goal of the season.

Carver said: "His goal ratio is fantastic - but we have got to provide him with the service. If we don't provide him with the service, then he won't score goals, so I need to make sure that the team provides him with service because he is valuable to us.

"This season, he has probably scored more scruffy goals than he ever has, but I am not bothered because he is actually scoring goals. That's why it was important to keep him here and that's why it was important to get him in the team and put him in the right area."

The decisive moment arrived against the run of play with 37 minutes gone, with the quality of Daryl Janmaat's cross and Cisse's control and finish, if not Jores Okore's defending, out of keeping with a poor game.

Substitute Ayoze Perez might have added a second with a 76th-minute header which came back off the post, but, had it not been for two Tim Krul saves from Christian Benteke and Tom Cleverley either side of the break, Villa would have emerged with something to show for their efforts.

It was just Newcastle's second league win in eight attempts under Carver and, while it was unconvincing, it was definitely welcome.

The head coach said: "The one thing I will so is we did actually show that professionalism that we didn't show against Stoke City when we conceded the late goal, so maybe the guys have learned from it.

"Let's not hide the fact that today has not been a classic, has it? It's not been a proper classic.. But I'll tell you what, the thing that's pleased me is we have kept a clean sheet, we have had players who have put their bodies on the line - and I have to mention Fabricio Coloccini in particular.

"His block towards the end of the games was outstanding. That's as good as scoring a goal at the other end."

For Villa boss Tim Sherwood, there were positives to take from a seventh successive league defeat as he prepares for next week's double header against derby rivals West Brom.

He said: "That [the performance] is a consolation, yes, but it's still no points, so I want a really poor performance on Tuesday night and three points, please.

"But listen, two wins this week and we will bounce into the next game. We need a shot of confidence here. There's not a lack of desire in that dressing room. The boys really care, they really do care - they are low in there.

"A lot of managers try to take the pressure off you - I think Paul Lambert has probably been trying to do that to the guys all season. I'm going to try the other way, I am going to put in on them, 'We're under pressure, boys, we are under pressure, this is a massive football club with a lot of good people involved in it and the fans are magnificent'.

"The pressure valve is up already; let's put pressure on ourselves to try to get points in these last few games."

Meanwhile, Carver revealed that the knee injury which forced left-back Massadio Haidara off on a stretcher is not thought to be too serious.

Press Association

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