- Europa League
Cisse: Massive week for Magpies
Papiss Cisse has described this week as 'massive' for Newcastle as they prepare to face a Europa League quarter-final and the Tyne-Wear derby in the space of four days.
The Magpies begin their quest on Thursday, looking to overcome a 3-1 first leg deficit against Portuguese giants Benfica, before welcoming fierce rivals Sunderland to St James' Park on Sunday lunchtime.
Recognising these are the kinds of occasion for which all players yearn, Cisse, who grabbed his third consecutive injury-time winner in a row at St James' with a superb solo goal against Fulham, confirmed his side's desire to continue their Europa League journey.
"It's a massive week," Cisse said. "I think it's a week in which every professional footballer would want to be involved in. We're doing quite well in the Europe League and going along steadily. I hope we can continue that adventure.
"The mentality is good, we know we must go out there and score two goals. We can't afford to concede but if we take it as we do with every match we're ready. Every single player wants to go out there and give everything.
"We just want to go out there and play. I hope to God that I'll score. We know we need to score goals in this match so I'm up for tomorrow. I'm going to get out there, do my best for this team so hopefully we can get into the semi-final."
Having secured Newcastle's place in the quarter-finals with a dramatic header against Anzhi Makhachkala, Cisse spoke of the feeling he receives from playing in front of what will be another sell-out crowd at St James' Park on Thursday.
"It's always an absolute pleasure for me to play in front of these fantastic supporters," he said. "It is the supporters who give me the strength to go out there to score goals and perform on the pitch.
"On Sunday that goal was especially for them. Everyone wanted to take three points so we could climb a little bit further up the league. As soon as that goal went in I went to celebrate with the fans. I tell myself that as long as the referee hasn't blown his whistle the game isn't over.
"I'm an attacker, that's my job. I always tell myself that I have to be ready to score and take my chances at any moment. There's always a chance until the whistle goes that I'll score. I've been getting a lot of chances. I've been lucky enough to score one in matches but I think this will improve my mentality and concentration. If I keep working hard I'll be able to come out with a brace or a hat-trick."
Those sentiments were echoed by manager Alan Pardew, who pointed to German side Borussia Dortmund as an example of the effect that a boisterous support can have on a game's outcome.
"As Borussia Dortmund proved, the crowd can influence proceedings and they did," Pardew explained. "For us on Sunday it was a special occasion in terms of us with the fans. We were all nervous, we were all apprehensive about that fixture.
"We knew the week we had in front of us we had to win. To win it in the last minute was special and our fans were a big part of that with the noise and atmosphere they generated that got Fulham deeper and deeper."