Sissoko backs Newcastle for glory

Match-winner Moussa Sissoko is backing Newcastle's unity to keep them in the upper reaches of the Barclays Premier League.

Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle United

The France international's stunning strike secured a hard-fought 2-1 home victory over West Brom on Saturday, the Magpies' fourth in succession, and eased them into fifth place in the table.

It was Sissoko's first goal since February and capped a run of much-improved form for a man who announced his arrival in English football in style following his January switch from Toulouse, but then endured a more difficult spell.

However, while he was delighted to have made the decisive contribution at the weekend, Sissoko is adamant it will be a team effort which will determine the destiny of the club's season.

Sissoko said: "I have been waiting a while for it. Now I am off the mark and I will continue to work hard, mostly to make sure I can keep putting in some great performances on the pitch.

"Goals, when they come along, are always welcome, or the odd assist if I can get them in as well.

"But the most important thing is the win. It doesn't matter who scores.

"As a team, we win together, we lose together.

"If we score a goal, it's always a goal together.

"We all have the same objectives we are working towards."

As so often in the recent past, there was little to choose between the two sides at St James' Park during a game which remained in the balance until the final whistle.

Newcastle took the lead nine minutes before the break when Baggies keeper Boaz Myhill could only punch Yohan Cabaye's corner straight up into the air, and Yoan Gouffran reacted first to head into the empty net.

But the visitors were level eight minutes after the break when Chris Brunt controlled Morgan Amalfitano's cross beyond the far post before drilling a left-foot shot past Tim Krul and in off the underside of the bar.

However, Sissoko killed off any hopes of an away victory within four minutes when he ran on to Loic Remy's cushioned header and blasted an unstoppable 25-yard piledriver into Myhill's top left-hand corner.

The Magpies will now head for Swansea on Wednesday and Manchester United on Saturday brimming with confidence, and with 18 of their last 19 league goals having been scored by Frenchmen, a statistic bettered only by Lyon in France.

Sissoko said: "The league position is fantastic, so it is up there as one of the greatest goals I have ever scored, probably, in my career, and I am really happy to have scored it.

"As I have always said in the past though, it doesn't matter how you score, the most important thing is to score and take away the three points.

"That's what we managed to do today, so we are happy. We will enjoy it, but we will go away and rest up.

"We have got a difficult match away at Swansea on Wednesday, but we will go there full of confidence and hopefully come away with three points."

West Brom headed back to the midlands firmly believing they should have been doing so with something to show for their efforts on Tyneside, and able to take plenty of positives out of the game.

However, manager Steve Clarke admits they need to tighten things up at the back if they are to reap the rewards of their play further up the field after conceding twice in a game for the third successive outing.

He said: "To concede two goals every game means to get anything, you need to get two to get a point and you need three to win, and it's difficult to score that amount of goals.

"It's something that we have to address."

The Baggies entertain Manchester City on Wednesday evening having been denied victory at Chelsea by a controversial late penalty and derby success against Aston Villa by a concerted fightback before their trip to the north-east.

Striker Shane Long scored three of their four goals in those two fixtures and turned in a fine individual display at St James' to keep Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson fully extended.

Clarke said: "Shane has been good. His recent performances, his recent form, has been good and he carried on tonight, so long may it continue."



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