Magpies keep mum after Ba talk

BY foxsports • September 18, 2012

Newcastle are keeping their own counsel over claims from Demba Ba's agent that he does not understand his role at the club.

However, it is understood that the Magpies were less than impressed by both the player's comments after Monday night's 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw at Everton and subsequently those of his representative.

Ba, who scored both his side's goals after coming off the bench at half-time, revealed after the game that he had "not been so happy with some things" beforehand, but agent Alex Gontran went further on Tuesday.

He told BBC Sport: "Since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, Demba doesn't understand the management.

"If he continues to be a substitute all season, we'll look at other solutions."

Manager Alan Pardew has insisted he has no qualms about upsetting even his biggest names if it is for the good of the team, and Ba's response on the pitch when he got his chance would have been just the one for which he was hoping after admitting that the Senegal striker and compatriot Papiss Cisse needed to step up a gear.

The pair were, of course, two of the stars of last season's charge into the Premier League's top five, with Ba plundering 15 goals before his departure for the African Nations Cup and January signing Cisse contributing 13 during the second half of the campaign.

However, Cisse's arrival from Freiburg prompted a change in Ba's position - he played much of his football wide on the left - and he added only one more to his tally before the end of the season while also providing his strike-partner with fine support.

Pardew has tried to employ him in a more central role in recent weeks, but Gontran claims it is that change which has upset his client.

He said: "How could you put your best striker with full confidence on the left wing?

"The choice to put Demba on the left last season was good for the club because Cisse scored 13 goals.

"But there was a lack of recognition for Demba. It is more difficult to play well when you don't have the confidence of your staff.

"Demba is happy at Newcastle. He is playing in the Premier League with lot of fellow French speakers and he loves the club's supporters.

"He would like to start every game, but he respects the choice of the coach, even if he does not always understand or agree."

Newcastle spent much of the summer listening to speculation that Ba could leave Tyneside as a series of clubs were linked with a move to trigger the ?7.5million release clause in his contract.

The expiry of that clause and the player's continued presence was greeted with a huge sigh of relief, although also a sense of disquiet at the roles played by several people claiming to represent him.

Indeed, Ba himself at one point spoke out to distance himself from one particular party.

The Magpies head for Madeira on Wednesday for Thursday night's opening Europa League group stage clash with Maritimo with a new cloud hanging over a difficult start to the season, and there is little doubt that while they are maintaining a public silence over the Ba issue, that will not be the case behind the scenes.