Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Back on Course

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Back on Course

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd is confident that Sir Bobby Robson's men are back on course for a Champions League comeback, having finally put their dismal start to the season behind them.

The Magpies, stuck in the Premiership relegation zone until their derby triumph at Middles- brough six days ago, host Portsmouth tomorrow having lifted themselves to within one win of a place in the top six over the course of a week of success.

Since losing at Arsenal on September 26, United have quickly secured a hat-trick of league victories and completed a morale-boosting 6-0 aggregate defeat of NAC Breda in the first round of the Uefa Cup.

And Shepherd, who is determined to deliver silverware to St James's Park, insists he can see no reason why the ambitious club can't complete their revival by booking a return to European football's flagship competition for next season.

"I have said before that we are slow starters but we are fast on the straight," said the Tyneside supremo, who has been delighted with the performances which have brought wins against Boro, Southampton and Fulham and eased the pressure which had been building following an unconvincing opening to the campaign.

"I have always said that we would finish in the top six and I still believe that, make no mistake about it. I have never said where in the top six I thought we would finish - but why shouldn't we be looking at a place in the top four again?

"Just look at the squad we have built. Even without some of the so-called star players on Tuesday (at Fulham), we had people who came in and did great jobs for us. Nothing has diminished my belief that this is a great squad, a great set of lads.

"The one thing we are missing here is a trophy. That is the one thing this club needs, but I am sure that one day we will get it. …

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