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Laurent Robert Interview 51

Taken from his own official (French Language) website 25.03.02


Newcastle lost 3-0 to Arsenal at the weekend in the quarter final of the cup. You conceded two goals in the first quarter of an hour. How do you explain this bad opening to the game?

It's not so surprising, as we've been experiencing this problem since a month now. We're not good defensively and we're having a hard time finding the path to the back of the net. For that reason, Arsenal amply deserved the win, we really weren't in it. It's a shame that we produced such football, as we could have won some silverware, and assured ourselves of an European place. We just weren't concentrated enough to win the game.

It is however surprising to see a team in the quarter final of the cup not really in the game, when there was an European place at stake.

It's true, it's very annoying. As far as I was concerned, I wanted to win the game. We worked very hard all week, the lads were all motivated, and on match day, we took a bit of a beating. I don't know what went wrong, maybe the defenders were too tired after all the work we've been doing during the week.

Apart from your free kick, and Shearer's chip, Newcastle didn't really have many chances.

No, not at all, But as we didn't have the height at the back or in midfield, it was hard for the attackers to get good passes up front.

Bergkamp had a big part to play in the game.

Yes, like he did the last time. He has been playing on form lately, and when you play a team like the Newcastle of Saturday, which have players who don't make tackles and close you down, you take pleasure from playing your game. The result, he was allowed to play as he wished. I find that a shame. The teams who play against us don't give us any gifts, but we were too kind. 

Robert Pires left the game due to an injury. We learnt this afternoon that he has to have an operation on the ligaments in his knee and that he won't play any part in the World Cup. Did you realise that it was so bad at the time?

Absolutely not, as he was avoiding a tackle and he twisted his ankle with no one near him. Robert is a friend , and after the game we had a chat. He told me that his injury wasn't that bad, and at worst he'd be playing in a month. Then today I heard the news as everyone else, and I feel sad for him. Now I hope he gets better quickly and gets back on the pitch as quickly as possible. It's really a pain for him as he's had a great season so far.

In any case, it's a big loss for the French team.

Yes but also for Arsenal. The Gunners are going for the title and without Robert they will find it hard.

With this injury to Pires, there's a place on the left freed up. You....

(he cuts in) I haven't been called up for selection since the start of the season, as I said last week, I'll keep working with Newcastle and we'll see what comes of it, I will be ready and available if they call, but I won't hold my breath. It's true that today, there is a free place, but I'm not the only one that can fill it. And what's more, I'm not the one picking the team. If Lemerre wants me, he knows where to find me.

Manchester lost at home this weekend. Is it a good thing for you?

Given the fact that we have a game in hand, it works in our favour. What's more, Chelsea lost at Liverpool and now we must be wary of Leeds, who are getting back to form, so on Friday, we have to win the three points.

Someone on your 'forum' said that you had a discussion with Bobby Robson, can you tell us any more?

It came after the draw with Arsenal. I played well and after the game he told me that I have to put in the same performances until the end of the season, that's all. It didn't go any further than that. I'll talk to you on Thursday.

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