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Laurent Robert Interview 5

Taken from his own official (French Language) website 17.9.01

Newcastle beat the champions Manchester United 4- 3 at St James Park. The game lived up to expectations - what a match! 

(Laurent has trouble speaking) It was a very passionate game but I almost didn't make it onto the pitch. When I woke up on Saturday I was suffering from flu. It was pretty hard but when you get the chance to play a game against such a team you don't want to mess up. So - to win 4-3 was really fantastic.

Despite your flu, you set Man U's defence ablaze with one goal, several shots that really troubled Fabien Barthez and a lot of crosses and passes. That was some great Laurent Robert.

It's true, I managed quite well but at a certain point I had real trouble breathing. I was pretty stuffed up. However, even though it went very well for us we played against a fantastic Manchester United team. They didn't have much success in front of the goal but they still were impressive. 

What were Bobby Robson's instructions before the match?

To play our football, to fight until the very last second, and to never give up. The team wasn't complete and the players who are not usually on the pitch gave their all. We played the ball pretty well even though sometimes we found ourselves playing the English game, with long forward balls. 

You have in any case a terrific attack. You put 4 goals past Middlesbrough last week and 4 more this weekend past the big Premiership favourite. Where does Newcastle's danger come from?

The problem is that we can score at any time but concede goals just the same. We've picked up quite a few since the start of the season and I hope the arrival of Sylvain Distin will stabilise the defence. 

We are very successful in front of the goal but the day that stops we will find ourselves in big trouble. We have to learn to win games to nil. Concerning the attack, the danger comes from Alan Shearer. He plays a  vital part with his experience. With Bellamy we can make the difference with our superior speed, Shearer receives a lot of passes. And last but not least we should not forget the importance of Rob Lee in midfield. A good distribution is indispensable and it's from his passes that our attacks normally start.

How do you explain the problems in the defence?

As I already told you, the Newcastle team is comprised of young players who are still lacking experience in defence. To start with, in order to stop conceding goals they have to be meaner. I'm not criticising them, I'm just saying this for the benefit of the team.

You are already 4th in the league, only 3 points behind Leeds, with one game in hand. Do you believe that Newcastle possesses the class to challenge for the title?

It seems that Newcastle always start the season very well and then fades in December. This year I hope we won't encounter this problem and manage to play well throughout the whole season. Why shouldn't we play for a place in the top three?

What is your personal assessment after four matches?

On the whole it's positive. Physically, I'm in good form and I just need a better knowledge of the game of my fellow players in order to contribute a bit more to the team.

Do you have a goalscoring target?

Every year I try to beat my own record. I scored 16 last season with PSG and I hope to do even better with Newcastle.

With that flu, did you go to the training this morning

I went there but the doctor straight away told me to rest. I went back home and I'm resting now. We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow. Anyway, I'm going to finish now. I'm sorry but I'm feeling pretty bad. I can't talk any more. See you later.

Page last updated 24 June, 2009