Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Don't Get Cocky and Toon Can Claim the Derby Spoils

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Don't Get Cocky and Toon Can Claim the Derby Spoils

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB LEETHE General's view

I CAN'T wait for Sunday.

Newcastle are full of confidence and Sunderland are at rock-bottom.

Unfortunately, that's when things can go badly wrong, so United must ensure they're at their best.

There can be no room for complacency. Get that right, and I think they'll win quite comfortably.

I watched the game on Saturday and thought that's the best I've seen us play in a long time - we were very, very good.

Had we kept 11 men on the pitch I honestly believe we'd have beaten Liverpool.

When we've got our best players available and on the pitch, we're a match for anyone. When things click, as they did for the second goal, we're unstoppable.

Unfortunately, victory wasn't to be, but Newcastle's belief will have been boosted by holding such a strong team to a draw - and with 10 men - on the back of a great result at Cardiff City and a decent response in the second half at Everton.

We've looked dangerous, while Sunderland were very poor at Swansea. The trouble is, Newcastle can be very erratic.

At full-strength, we're as good as anyone.

Below-strength, and we're as bad as anyone.

That's the consistency issue Alan Pardew is wrestling with, but it's not the only things he has to get right on Sunday.

For a start, the foreign players have to have learned their lesson from the last game, when Paolo Di Canio's side won 3-0 at St James' Park.

It looked to me like they didn't fully understand what the game meant.

Well, if that defeat didn't educate them, Pardew and the homegrown players must ensure they do.

The Tyne-Wear derby is massive, one of the biggest and best.

Before I joined Newcastle, I'd played for Charlton in derbies against the likes of Millwall and Crystal Palace.

But nothing quite prepared me for my first derby up here, in October 1992.

We'd started the season on fire, and won our first 10 games in what was then Division One.

The 11th came at Roker Park, and the famous 'Roar' was something else. It was a tough game, but we won 2-1 and deserved to beat them.

Of course, it didn't always go as well for me in our games against Sunderland. …

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