Papiss Demba Cisse’s taken Alan Pardew’s decision to block his Olympic dream on the chin – and is ready to come out fighting for Newcastle United.
Pardew made the difficult decision to stop the striker playing for Senegal in the tournament.
Cisse wanted to represent his country in the Olympics, but Pardew, mindful of the dangers of burnout given the amount of football he has played for club and country over the past 12 months, felt the 27-year-old needed a rest ahead of the new season.
And Cisse – who could face Olympiakos at the Algarve Stadium, Portugal, tonight (kick-off 8.45pm) – has put his faith in Pardew’s judgement.
“It was a difficult decision,” Cisse told the Gazette.
“I wanted to play, but I had a discussion with the manager as soon as I got back to Newcastle.
“I wanted to play for Senegal – representing my country is very important to me – but the manager said it was best that I rested.
“He said it was better for me, and I understood his decision.”
Cisse had a sensational start to his Newcastle career last season, scoring 13 goals in the second half of the campaign after joining from German club Freiburg.
While deeply-religious Cisse – who is observing Ramandan, the Islamic month of fasting – is relucant to set targets for the coming season, he’s still looking to emulate his remarkable feats for both clubs last term.
“God willing, I will score a lot more goals this season,” added Cisse.
“I scored 30 goals last season, but I don’t set targets for the next season. Maybe I will score 30 again – I don’t know.”
Cisse and his team-mates trained late yesterday afternoon after their flight into Faro, and practised again this morning ahead of the Olympiakos game, which is followed by a fixture against Braga tomorrow night at the same stadium.
“It’s good to be back in training, but it’s hard work,” admitted Cisse.