Goal hero Gouffran fighting to keep his place

WINNER ... Yoan Gouffran scores against Norwich.
WINNER ... Yoan Gouffran scores against Norwich.

YOAN Gouffran shrugged off the plaudits after a match-winning performance against Norwich City – and insisted his only aim is to stay in the Newcastle United starting XI.

Gouffran scored what turned out to be the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at St James’s Park.

And the strike took his goal tally for the season to three.

But the in-form forward is refusing to set himself a target this season.

Instead, the hard-working 27-year-old – who tapped the ball home after Shola Ameobi forced a save from John Ruddy with a powerful header – is only concerned about keeping his jersey.

“Shola had a great header, and I was able to score,” Gouffran told the Gazette.

“We have done that on the training ground, and it was good to score like that in a game.

“I don’t know about targets. I just want to play, and if I can score, I’m happy. The most important thing is to play.”

The goal was just reward for a tireless afternoon’s work for Gouffran, who joined the club in January as it battled the threat of relegation from the Premier League.

Gouffran added: “It’s my job to attack and defend. If I can score, I score. It’s my job to do the work.”

Loic Remy gave Newcastle the perfect start, the forward meeting a Yohan Cabaye corner at the far post with his head in the second minute. Gouffran doubled the advantage in the 38th minute.

However, Norwich fought back after the break, and Leroy Fer’s late goal led to an edgy last 10 minutes at St James’s Park.

“It was a good game,” said Gouffran. We played very well in the first half and scored two goals.

“It was a great result for us and the fans. All the players are happy.”

The result lifted Newcastle up to eighth in the league ahead of Saturday’s home game against West Bromwich Albion. Pardew’s side are just two points off fourth place.

If Gouffran and his team-mates can maintain their form, and “focus”, then a challenge for European football is realistic.

“We have to stay focused if we want to be in the top eight,” he said. “All the players are focused on that.”

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