Papiss Cisse relishing new responsibility at Newcastle since Demba Ba's exit
Newcastle's Papiss Cisse is enjoying the added responsibility on his shoulders following the departure of Demba Ba.
Last Updated: 02/03/13 7:37pm
Cisse, who arrived at St James' Park from SC Freiburg in last year's winter transfer window, shared striking responsibilities with compatriot Ba for much of his first 12 months on Tyneside.
But the 27-year-old has been manager Alan Pardew's first-choice man to lead the line since Ba's departure to Chelsea in January - a role he is relishing.
He told the Daily Star: "Mentally I am definitely in a different position to where I was. There is more responsibility on my shoulders and I relish it.
"Between Shola Ameobi and myself, we have to fill Demba's boots, but the new players have come in and helped us a lot. I think the team is in a really strong position right now."
Cisse admits he has not been as prolific as he would have liked so far this season, having scored eight goals in 33 appearances in all competitions.
The striker, who netted 13 in 14 games last term, added: "It's fair to say this has been a difficult season.
"I haven't perhaps done as well as I would have hoped, nor scored as many goals as I would have liked, but that's the nature of the job.
"You have ups and downs and you have to be mentally strong to get through it."
Cisse has scored his fair share of stunning goals since arriving at Newcastle, including a superb volley in the 4-2 win over Southampton.
But the frontman says every goal is special even if it is not as easy on the eye, recalling his fluke effort against West Brom last year.
"To be honest, any goal, no matter how great or bad it is, is the best feeling in football," he added.
"There is a feeling that just explodes inside you and is the very best thing you can do in a game.
"The goal against West Brom is probably the worst I have scored, but as long as it hits the back of the net, it's a goal and I'm happy."