Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says Papiss Cisse is not low on confidence, despite his slow start to the season.
The Senegal international had a huge impact after joining the club in January, notching 13 goals in 14 games, but has not scored in the Premier League this term – his only goal coming in the League Cup.
But, Pardew has dismissed reports Cisse is suffering from low confidence, instead backing him to reproduce his stunning form of six months ago.
Pardew told reporters: “We all worry and especially the media worry more about his confidence than he does.
“It’s pretty sound, his confidence.”
However, Pardew has admitted that competition for places among his strikers has intensified after the 3-0 win over Bordeaux in the Europa League.
“All our strikers have scored this week – Shola (Ameobi) has scored, Demba (Ba) has scored, Papiss has scored and if I am honest, Shola is playing at the same level as the other two and he is in contention to start this game,” he said.
“That’s great news for us because it breeds competition.
“Shola is always desperate to play. Our fans now realise how important he is to us whereas I think in the past, they didn’t.
“He is improving as he gets older. He is maturing like a good wine.”
In response, Ameobi said he is determined to retain his place in Newcastle’s starting side, and is confident of success in the league.
“The manager picks the team, but I am available and every time I pull on that shirt, I am trying to show him, I am trying to prove to him I am worth a starting place in the Premier League,” he said.
“I can only do what I can do, try to play as hard as I can and as well as I can. If he picks me, then fantastic, I’ll be ready to go, that’s for sure.”