Match Report 2001-02 - Derby (h)
30 mins. Robert twisted and turned his way into the box at speed and just as Riggott lunged in for a tackle Robert nicked the ball away and went down in a heap. Didn't look like a dive particularly, but winning a penalty was certainly on the Frenchman's mind. Shearer took the kick and placed it to the keeper's right as he dived the other way. 1-0
Half time: Newcastle 1 Derby 0
Full time: Newcastle 1 Derby 0
"But my response to that was: 'I'll see you next Christmas.' It was unrealistic and I'm just happy that we won a game we had to fight tooth and nail to win.
"It just showed again that it's a topsy-turvy season in the Premiership. There were only three goals scored on Saturday and we got one of them. There are no formalities. I'm just delighted we won."
"When we played Tottenham here several weeks ago I wanted to cancel out their extra man in midfield so we played with wing-backs and three in midfield.
"Against Derby we didn't do that, we stayed 4-4-2 but Robert and Gary did very well for us. They are not the youngest of midfield pairings, but they worked hard and were very diligent and tried to shore it up.
"I would have liked to have got a second goal because at one stage I wanted to try to rest Robert ahead of the Worthington Cup tie against Ipswich, but with the game so tight I didn't think that any change would improve the team.
"And I know that if we had changed it, and we had ended up drawing or losing, then I would have kicked myself.
"So we did what Liverpool did for so many years. They used to keep the same players who had the rhythm of the game, who knew their opponents and who saw games out. They could win the league by winning matches 1-0 17 times a season.
"So cries of 'change your tactics' and 'change your team' I put in a paper bag and throw it away. The 11 guys on the pitch knew their jobs, they stuck with it and they won us a difficult match 1-0."
"He took some in training on Friday, he practised hitting them in both sides. I don't think he has a favourite side because he can hit them either way.
never missed in practice and he was ready to take one if it came along.
That's the strength of him as a person and a player."
"Despite what happened at Fulham there wasn't any question that I would take a penalty if we got one against Derby.
"Edwin Van der Sar made a great save against me for Fulham last Saturday and I realised that Derby would probably mention that penalty when they had their team talk before the game with goalkeeper Mart Poom.
"And I also realise that because that penalty was saved, they might have guessed I would go for the other side. So I went for the same side that I went for against Fulham, and I was delighted when it went in."
"We would have settled for being fourth in the table after 13 games at the start of the season and we are doing okay. What we need is a bit of consistency, but so do a lot of other teams.
"Any team, and that includes ourselves, will probably go clear at the top if they can put together an unbeaten run of seven or eight games.
"I honestly believe the top four are nailed on in Liverpool, Manchester United, Leeds and Arsenal, but there is also a cluster of five or six teams below them who can qualify for Europe next season and we are one of them."
Colin Todd said:
"It was a good performance with nothing to show for it. I feel we deserved to take all three points from the game. When you create one or two clear-cut chances like we did today you need to put the ball in the back of the net.
"We havent scored too many goals so far this season but if we continue to create chances we will win games, I think we've shown to the nation that we aren't going to lie down for anybody."
"We withstood the pressure well and then suffered what I thought was a harsh decision for the penalty. We could have gone in at the break a goal up but instead we were a goal down.
"We kept taking the game to them and then missed a penalty - but I wouldn't criticise anyone for missing a penalty like that."
"The players were disappointed - you do get down when you lose - but you take heart from the way you play."
"We have to continue to show that appetite, discipline, and organisation; although we need to improve on the passing in certain areas and the control at times.
"I am convinced that if we can show today's form consistently we can get out of the position we're in."
Defender Danny Higginbotham said:
"We've come out of the game feeling that we performed really well, we can take a lot of heart from that and build on it next week.
"I think we played really well, the lads are a bit down but we are looking at keeping that form going."
"I think it made a difference to start off having a go at them. I think they were a bit surprised and we were unlucky not to capitalise on it.
"Colin Todd said we played very well, so it's something to build on for the big games at home and hopefully we can get something out of them."
"Fabrizio Ravanelli is a great player and has played in some big pressure games but everyone will miss a penalty every now and then."
"When he apologised after the game we told him not to worry because he's already scored some great goals for us and we know he'll get some more."
"It's nice to see people saying nice things about me in the papers but when I first arrived here from Manchester United there were doubters so I dont take that much notice.
"I take it all with a pinch of salt and concentrate on playing against good players on the field every week."
"Colin Todd has brought his own ideas in to the training ground and the training is excellent. The new players have settled in well and overall things are going along very nicely.
"We obviously dont want to be in the bottom three but we played really well against a team that is right up there challenging for honours this year. We didnt get what we deserved from today's performance but now we can start building on things."
Once again a Midlands wipeout at St.James'
Park, as Derby joined Villa and Leicester in being sent home goalless and
pointless. Last season was exactly the same, apart from the Rams scoring a
couple of goals before they lost and of course we also had the annual home
win over Coventry that we're denied this season. Unless we get them in the
To quote our glorious leader "the
eleven guys on the pitch knew their jobs."
What Bobby chooses not to appreciate is that half of the reason that people moan and groan for a change is that they want something to cheer or something to cling on to (we're of course many miles past wanting to be entertained - that's for the likes of Chelsea fans). Shay Given was greeted like the prodigal son for his penalty save, before we all went back to sleep and only stirred when Lua appeared (or someone tripped over our feet when making for the exits).
Of course our manager has undergone
something of a change in policy over the last twelve months, when he threw
his cards on the table like a wild west saloon gambler and on came the
likes of Glass, Lua and Cordone, often as a trio. To my jaundiced eyes, we
had players who were not only contributing nowt in this game and at Fulham
and worse still were actively undermining the efforts of their colleagues
by failing to move into space or playing daft balls just to be rid of that
accursed bouncing object. A look at a video of Robert's performance in the
second half will give you examples of the latter - if he was injured or
sick, why on earth wait until the last minute before hauling him off.
Bellamy never quite got going in this game, but after his recent contributions that's excusable. Indeed he was so quiet that he didn't even get booked. It looked as if Shola might get a runout, but he remained in the back of the dugout, and the misfiring wingers also stayed on despite the constant warming up of LuaLua. Even the introduction of Acuna might have been a positive move, Speed at times waging a one-man war to prevent Derby funnelling through the centre circle towards our goal. Lee was later revealed to be carrying an injury.
Like we always say, churlish to moan
about a clean sheet and three points collected. Needless to say a repeat
of this performance and scoreline at Charlton or Arsenal next month will
result in fountain-dancing celebrations of a ferocity unseen since VE
To misquote that nice old bloke from 1966:
A partly political broadcast on behalf of
the Geordie Nation. Please put us out of our bloody misery and win
at Charlton by any means possible, fair or foul.