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Pressure - 11/03/2002

   Clarence Acuna
   Newcastle United

Funny old game, in the Bolton and City games I’ve made a few mistakes and lost possession of the ball. Before the Arsenal game all the press were on at me and Clarence Acuna - saying that Arsenal would dominate midfield. I was in pre-match and talking to my brother. He just said “what have you got to lose?” I thought well, nothing much, everyone thinks we’re (me and Acuna) going to get turned over, so what have I got to lose? I was up against Viera and a class midfield, I wouldn’t be the first or the last to get a good kicking from Arsenal. It helped, I just went out and played my game, probably my best game for the club. We got a point and really should have had three!

In the week leading up to the City game I’d been really worried. My brother and I had been arrested on the Swing Bridge for being drunk and disorderly – I don’t want to talk about it, other than the fact that I know I’ve been hard done by. Anyway, the gaffer was saying that I’d put myself under pressure, if I had a poor game the crowd would be on my back, he also said I’d made his job harder to do. I thought about what he said, and it didn’t exactly relax me. I wondered if I’d be dropped, but later in the week he said I’d be in the starting 11. It was good to be told I’d be starting, but I was still worried about the crowd. Even during the game I was thinking about the arrest, and what the crowd would do if I made mistakes. I should have been playing my usual game, but my mind, no matter how I tried just wasn’t on the job. It showed, and I really think it was one of my worst games for the club.

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