Pardew backing Cisse to rediscover form
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes Papiss Cisse is set to rediscover his best form after the striker got on the score sheet in Thursday's 3-0 Europa League win over Bordeaux.
Pardew's men turned in their best performance of the season to see off an in-form Bordeaux side at the Sports Direct Arena.
And the early season goal drought endured by Cisse, 27, now appears to be forgotten, with the Senegal international having scored two goals in his last three games.
Pardew is hoping the striker, who scored 13 goals in his first 14 games for Newcastle last season, can fire his first Premier League goals of this term against Manchester United on Sunday.
"You can tell with Papiss that he is sound now and his confidence is fine," Pardew said. "He scored a fantastic goal, turning and swivelling and that will do him some good. Confidence is so important for a striker and I have no concerns that Papiss will score plenty of goals for us. He is a great player and like all great players, you need to stand by them when things are not going perfectly."
The Magpies boss believes his side are starting to rediscover their best form after a stuttering start to the campaign and he is hoping they will confirm their worth as a top five Premier League side against United.
"We set standards last year that we haven't reached this season, but we got there against Bordeaux and that bodes well for the Manchester United game," Pardew said. "I've been critical of my dressing room in recent weeks and I wanted to see us playing with verve and pace again, which we managed to do.
"Bordeaux are a good side who have not been beaten in 17 games, but the goals we scored hurt them and gave them a platform to play as well as we did. Also, the team I selected for this tie confirms my desire to take this competition seriously.
"I was also able to keep a few bodies fresh for Sunday as well, so it was the perfect night for me in many ways. Now we can look forward to the United game and what will be another great occasion in front of our own supporters."
Pardew is likely to be without keeper Tim Krul, as well as first-choice defenders Fabio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor on Sunday, but he is still remains upbeat ahead of the clash.
"It feels like we are finding our form now and that kind of belief is important for any team," Pardew added. "We've got two of our biggest games of the season against Man United and Sunderland coming up, so we have timed it well to be feeling good about ourselves again."