Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Keep on Fighting to the End

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Keep on Fighting to the End

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

An angry Glenn Roeder last night rejected any suggestions Newcastle United's season could be considered a failure as the club's last remaining chance of silverware disappeared in Holland.

The Magpies were beaten 2-0 at AZ Alkmaar in the second leg of their Uefa Cup last-16 tie and crashed out of the competition on the away goals rule, leaving United with nothing meaningful to play for during the last two months of the campaign.

Roeder criticised his players and insisted his under-performing outfit had not delivered what he expected on a night that will ensure the pressure rises at St James's Park. But although a trophy drought that has endured since 1969 will be extended for a further 12 months at least, the Newcastle boss would not accept an understandable line of questioning as the inquests began.

"It's too easy just to say it's another season of failure for Newcastle," he said. "I can see why you want to go down that line. But you follow us and you know the problems we have had. The squad has been decimated by injuries for six months and, at times, I have had to pick up points without a dozen senior players. Even the supporters understand the problems we have had.

"I'm not talking about three or four injuries, I'm talking about a whole team being out. I have never complained about it, I have tried to accept it and move forward and do the best we can."

Roeder has insisted that he has never used injuries as an excuse on a consistent basis but his response to last night's result will undermine his stance. United were missing only four first-team players at the DSB Stadion ( in Michael Owen, Shola Ameobi, Celestine Babayaro and Stephen Carr. "Only Michael Owen?" he countered. "He's a world-class striker. And there's Shola, who scored a goal every two games for me last season. You know where I'm coming from.

"We've only just got some of these senior players back fit in the last couple of weeks. We have just got Stephen Carr back after his injuries, he has played one game and he is injured again. …

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