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Strength in depth - 02/01/2003

   Brian Kerr
   Clarence Acuna
   Robbie Elliott
   Newcastle United

Yesterday’s result was excellent, OK it was a very poor Liverpool performance, their discipline was terrible and I really think they spat the dummy out! But you can’t take anything away from Newcastle, we fought and played very well. The league table looks very healthy and as we move into the New Year, Bobby Robson will be a happy man – certainly happier then Gerard Houllier!

With playing both Premiership and Champions League football, it was inevitable that injuries would come along. When you loose a whole midfield of Viana, Speed, Dyer, and Solano, it’s a major challenge, this is when the squad is tested to the full and I feel that we came through it very well. The important thing is to remain positive, whilst some see the injuries as a massive blow – a negative, why not look upon it as a chance for fresh players to come in and show their worth? Let's be positive to the challenge.

It was especially pleasing to see Clarence Acuna, Brian Kerr, and Robbie Elliott coming into the first team picture and contributing to a win. I think we’ve a strong squad, and to be tested against Liverpool, to come through with flying colours is excellent. Of course if the same lads had come in and the result had gone against us, this would have been a big knock to their confidence. Robbie was even playing out of position, but showed his versatility, Acuna had a great game, badgering away but also showing some great positive touches, Brian Kerr wasn’t overawed at all and linked up well, so there’s a lot that came out of the game – in addition to the three points! The club, through these three players, will have benefited with the game, the next time they're called upon, they’ll look back to the Liverpool game and gain confidence from it.

I’m glad to hear the pitch is being re-laid. It really doesn’t help the team at all. Looking back to my playing days, we were having a rough time one winter and pitch was in a very bad state. The press were giving us a bit of grief and I remember Keegan taking them out onto the pitch. Sometimes the view from the stand masks how bad the divots and mud can be – try playing fluid, one touch football on that type of surface and it’s difficult. I just hope it beds in alright, the amount of rain we’re having is incredible, but if ‘the bubble’ can do it’s job, we should see a great game at home to City in a couple of weeks. In the meantime it’s Wolves in the cup, more of that tomorrow…

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