Demba Ba is happy to see hard work pay off after announcing his arrival at Newcastle United in style with a spectacular hat-trick in Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Blackburn Rovers.
He opened the scoring after 27 minutes, receiving Leon Best’s cross before showing great strength and technique to hold off Scott Dann before lashing home.
Ba got his next goal after finishing from a loose ball in the Blackburn box, and his third heading back across goal from a Cheick Tiote cross.
The 26-year-old says he will not set himself goal targets following the display as he reflected on a tough first few months at the club.
"I just want to have good performances and score goals - that's what makes me happy," said Ba. "I have a competition against myself.
"It was a good day for me after a lot of work and a lot of bad performances and now the hard work just paid off for me.”
The striker continued: "I was not fit at the beginning of the season and now after six games, I am starting to get my sharpness back, and I am just going to keep on working to have it 100 per cent for the next few weeks.
"You feel happy. I have scored my first goal here this season and I just hope it is going to keep on going."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had earlier attributed Ba’s slow start due to lack of fitness while fasting during Ramadan, but the frontman said: "He always told me that when I was fit, I would get my chance and it was up to me to take it or leave it.
“In the third goal, the ball was for Leon Best. I just wanted to give it back to Leon because he was in a good position as well.
"I haven't seen the pictures yet, but I don't think anybody touched it and the ball went into the goal, so I am very happy with that."
The Senegalese international scored seven goals in 12 Premier League games for West Ham last season, earning his move to St James’ Park, but then went five games without a goal before his morale-boosting treble.