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Apr 2, 2012

Cisse powered by goat curry

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has revealed Papiss Demba Cisse's match-winning brace against Liverpool was fuelled by curried goat.

• Newcastle 2-0 L'pool: Reds' April fall

The Magpies served up the gastronomic treat at the training ground on Friday as part of their Africa Day - a cultural and team-building exercise.

And Senegal striker Cisse, who has scored seven goals in eight games since joining Newcastle from SC Freiburg, hit top form in Sunday's 2-0 win over Liverpool.

"It was Cisse's best performance yet for us," Pardew told the Daily Mirror, before explaining: "We all had curried goat on Friday and delicious it was too. It was Africa Day and we enjoyed it. The curry helped!"

Cisse's goals have helped fire Newcastle to within five points of the Champions League places, but Pardew also reserved praise for winger Hatem Ben Arfa, who has previously struggled to win the trust of his manager.

Pardew, who nursed the France international back from an horrendous double leg fracture, said: "When you have a player who has a special talent, sometimes they look at you as a manager and they want to play.

"He wasn't fit. He had worked really, really hard, but he wasn't actually match-fit. He was fit, but not match-fit, not really sure of how we played and in the Premier League, the transition of play, where he should be and where he shouldn't be.

"He has taken on board and he has listened to me and he as listened to my staff and he has been very, very diligent. That's why nothing would give me more pleasure than for him to make the French squad, and I think he can.

"He has got some individual ability that I would be very surprised if France has that in the squad in terms of what he can do to a team. Even if he was to be taken as an impact player, he's got a great opportunity and he is in great shape."

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