Alan Pardew believes that Moussa Sissoko is a better attacking partner for Papiss Cisse at Newcastle than Demba Ba on the evidence of the Frenchman's start to life on Tyneside.
Ba moved to Chelsea for 7.5 million pounds in January after netting 13 goals in 20 games, but Pardew believes his attack has more balance now that the former Toulouse man has replaced the Senegal international.
"I've been saying for a long time since I arrived at this club that we've never really had a natural No. 10 because in the modern game, you need to have that," Pardew said. "Moussa came in and is much better at that [than Ba]. Obviously Demba's a striker, he plays that No. 9 role for Chelsea, but we have Papiss.
"It gives us different options, a bit more freedom to attack thanks to his natural ability and defensive attitude, we need it. I think it's a better combination than what we had before."
Pardew believes that Sunday's 4-2 win over Southampton has set his side up for a late-season tilt at the top half of the table and hailed the 35-yard Cisse strike that had given the Toon a halftime lead.
"Look at the league table and we've now put outselves in a position to attack 10th, and that was why it was important to get victory today," Pardew said. "We should attack the top 10 now and we can with this team, it's a considerable difference to six weeks ago, with people returning and the new players.
"[Cisse's goal] reminded me of that goal of the season from Alan [Shearer against Everton] many years ago here, a dipping volley. As soon as he hit it you sensed it was in and of course the net ripples. He's got that in him, Papiss, he's done it before but it was a really fantastic one today."
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