Ghana and Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu has conceded that he has not reached his best level since returning from a knee injury he sustained in April.
The flying winger suffered a knee injury towards the tail end of last season and consequently missed chunk of the Magpies pre-season training.
The 26-year-old has made only seven appearances this campaign, including one start and lasted 196 minutes on the field after falling down the pecking order behind Matt Ritchie and Kenedy.
The former Chelsea wideman has admitted has ascribed his difficult start to the season to the injury but he is determined to overcome it.
“I need to give everything and work harder because, at the start of the season, I was not in good shape,” said Atsu, who is currently on international duty with Ghana preparing for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Ethiopia. “I am still getting my fitness back to where I want it to be.
“I am really working hard, and I am confident this is going to be a good season. I know I can get back to my best form.
“It has been more difficult to recover than I thought it would be. To be fair, it has been very difficult to come back from the injury. That is normal though. It was a knee injury, and they are always difficult to recover from. With time, I am going to be back to my very best football.”