Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Success Can Still Be Ours - Bobby

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Success Can Still Be Ours - Bobby

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

United boss Robson rejects talk of crisis

Sir Bobby Robson last night moved to quash talk of a crisis at St James's Park and insisted his under-fire Newcastle team are still on course to bring success to Tyneside.

The United boss took Freddie Shepherd's criticism on the chin earlier this week but, despite the mounting concerns of his frustrated chairman, Robson believes Champions League qualification remains a realistic ambition going into the second half of the season.

Sunday's dismal home defeat by Blackburn Rovers has raised fears among many fans that the Magpies are in danger of finishing their inconsistent campaign empty-handed.

But Robson, who needs to keep Shepherd on side as he seeks funds to strengthen his under-achieving squad this month, is confident the fans have got much to look forward to in the New Year.

"We are more frustrated than anybody else; naturally so because we know that if we had won on Sunday, we would have been one point short of fourth place," said the Newcastle manager, who hopes to recruit two new players before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.

"That would have been a pretty fair achievement given the dismal start we made to the season.

"My reaction to the supporters, not to the chairman, is that 19 games have gone and there are 19 more to go.

"We are halfway through the season and, if we can improve in the second half of the season on how we did in the first half, we will be in a position where fourth place will be a possibility.

"I still think we can bring success and a smile to the area; we're not far away from it. We're still in the FA Cup, we're still in Europe and that's exciting, isn't it? We're also in a position, with a handful of other clubs, from where we can finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League. The strong survive, the best go forward. We have got to make sure that we are the strongest and the best."

Robson has held a series of meetings with his players following Sunday's debacle and insists that the Newcastle dressing room contains sufficient talent and spirit to ensure a prosperous climax to the club's Premiership campaign. …

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