Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Wednesday March 14 2007
Speaking to his chum in Thomson House, Kieron Dyer has come out with his customary quotes ahead of the game with Alkmaar tomorrow. Given his previous track record with pre-match interviews I`d have got GR to gag him ahead of such a big tie. None of us will ever forget his 'I`ll take Scholes` England place` interview the morning before our crunch game with Man Utd. Rumour has it Ferguson pinned the article to the dressing room wall before the match and Scholes inspired the Mancs to a 6-2 thrashing of us with a quality hat trick. Dyer was anonymous. Nevertheless he`s come out with the following pearls:
"Europe has kept our season together. I remember under Graeme Souness we were going great guns in the Uefa Cup and in the FA Cup but the injuries came at the wrong time when the games were coming thick and fast and the squad couldn't handle it. We fell apart, so perhaps being out of the FA Cup has been a blessing in disguise because it gave us a free weekend to recharge our batteries and hopefully go over there and complete the job.
For the first time this season last week we had a really strong bench, with Emre, Charles N'Zogbia and James Milner. It's no coincidence that we produced one of our best performances of the season. We're getting players back and it's a good sign going into an important stage of the season. I think Newcastle will be seen as one of the teams who can win the Uefa Cup. Our record in recent years is there for everyone to see. There's been talk of Werder Bremen and Seville but I fancy us and Tottenham to be the real contenders for this tournament. We've just got to do the job over there, and then bring on the draw. Before the game we would have settled for a two-goal lead but I'd have preferred a 2-0 result at home. Having said that, I think we're the favourites for the tie because they are going to have to come at us to score goals and, with Oba Martins in the team as well as Damien Duff and our other attacking players, we can pick them off.
I've been told they haven't been beaten at home in 28 years in Europe but records are there to be broken. We didn't win in London for 28 games and now we win there fairly regularly. They're a strong team and we will respect them over there but they have to respect us. It's very important we don't concede an early goal because if we don't they have to start taking chances. Honestly, with Oba at the moment I think they're going to be very scared of him after what he did to them in the first leg. Hopefully we can pick them off on the break. If you take away the penalty in the second half they didn't really have that many chances apart from long-range efforts and our defence has been playing well.'
Date:Wednesday March 14 2007
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