Ba 'baffled' by Newcastle role

The agent of Newcastle striker Demba Ba has claimed the player does not understand why his role has changed

Senegal international Ba headed for the African Nations Cup at the turn of the year having established himself as a star on Tyneside with 15 goals in his first half-season.

However, the 27-year-old returned to find the arrival of compatriot Papiss Cisse meant a shift to a wide left position and he started at Everton on the bench. Ba's agent, Alex Gontran, told BBC Sport: "Since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, Demba doesn't understand the management."

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

However, Gontran went on to insist that Ba respects manager Alan Pardew's decisions even if he does not necessarily agree with them, and remains happy at the Magpies.

He said: "Demba is happy at Newcastle. He is playing in the Premier League with a 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."

Ba was introduced as a half-time substitute at Goodison Park and scored twice to cancel out Everton's lead and ultimately to claim a point.

But he managed only one more goal last season following his return from the African Nations Cup, while Cisse plundered 13, although his contribution as Newcastle finished fifth drew equal praise from his manager.

The former Hoffenheim frontman remained on Tyneside at the end of the summer transfer despite months of speculation that a £7.5million release-clause in his contract would be activated.

However, neither he nor Cisse have started this season particularly well, that is until Monday's point-winning heroics by the former.