Seydou Doumbia has told the Shields Gazette that he does not blame Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez for not playing him last season.
Doumbia was signed for Newcastle in January by Steve McClaren, but he was immediately dropped by Benitez after he took charge.
The Ivorian rarely made a match day squad under Benitez, and he failed to make much of an impact at St. James’ Park.
However, Doumbia insists that his exclusion was not down to fitness issues.
He said: “The reason is not that I was in bad shape. Just every coach is looking at his team play and its composition on a given match.
“Benitez, apparently, initially did not see a place for me on the field. This right coach, I can not blame him.”
Doumbia was expected to provide the goals to fire Newcastle to safety when he arrived on loan from CSKA Moscow, but he failed to live up to expectations.
The 28-year-old made just three appearances for Newcastle in total, and he failed to find the back of the net.
Doumbia has now returned to CSKA Moscow, and there is no chance of his move to Tyneside being made permanent.
Newcastle are on the hunt for a striker this summer, though, with Dwight Gayle, Ross McCormack and Patrick Bamford all reportedly of interest.