Match Report 2000-01 - Arsenal (h)
Half time: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0
Full time: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0
Bobby Robson commented:
"We gave a fairly admirable performance.
"It was a game where honours were shared. They've got the point that they desperately needed, we haven't lost to a very good football team and a big club and I'm satisfied that our players have given the public a game which they've quite enjoyed.
"They can be quite proud of their
team, and that was very important to us. Had we not got a great
performance from every player, we would have lost the game, but we got
from every single player a great performance."
"I had a bit of a go yesterday, but it was just how I felt. I could be saying things now, but I had the strength and the will and the honesty to say it before tonight.
"We could have lost 3-0 here and it would have been very difficult for me to say anything. I'll fight tooth and nail for every player in this club and for this club in this part of the world.
"If I feel I have to challenge people, I'll challenge because my heart is with the club and anyone who isn't, I'm against."
"That one was for you."
"That was important for us - I recognise the support that the public give the team, I welcome that and I am very proud of that.
"I was engrossed in the game but from time to time you are aware of what is coming out of the terraces. I am just pleased for the team."
"What has hurt me and disappointed me is that we have not given our public what they deserve and what they would have liked.
"We hope next year we can reassemble. Obviously we have some injured players who we hope will recover for the start of next season. Hopefully with a small summer shopping list we will get it right for the start of next season and move on to phase two.
"I never lost my spirit but it has been a difficult season for us.
Speaking about the decision to play Glass rather than Quinn:
"I know all about Wayne Quinn but I just wanted to have a look at Stephen Glass and see what standard he is playing at now. Following this performance we have to make some sort of decision on his future and so does he.
"I have given him a game which has done him a favour - it's better for him to play in the first team than sit on the sidelines. I've had a good look at him, I've watched how he dealt with Arsenal and I thought he did fine."
Arsene Wenger said:
"I'm personally very proud tonight because the players have shown a great mental strength and a great professional attitude"
"We were up for the game tonight because Newcastle played a cup game. They closed down the ball and that's why I believe we needed a lot of character, and that's why I'm very happy with the performance of my players. We were in the quarter-finals of the Champions' League and we were in the final of the FA Cup and we finished runners-up, and that shows the huge quality of my team.
"But we are frustrated because we want to be first in the championship and that's why we have to come back to do better, but as well, we have not go to be ashamed of what we have done this season. Every season is a new start and maybe Manchester United will be buying new players.
"We'll try to buy new players. We have to try to keep the players we have and then come back and try to be stronger and more competitive with Man United."
After Bobby's little outburst in the
pre-match buildup, the spotlight was always going to be on the crowd and
players, and for once a positive reaction from both was forthcoming.
There remains a nagging doubt however
that the Gunners weren't firing on all cylinders, doing just enough to
hold on for the point that ensures Champs League participation for them
We can only hope that Bobby was caught up in his own invective after the game when he talked about keeping all the players - we continue to be painfully short of goalscoring capacity up front, lacking in midfield creativity and in need of a general injection of pace.
With the combination of some decent additions to the squad plus the injured ones returning, the younger element forcing their way through the ranks, and a continuation of the work ethic displayed tonight, the future might just look a little brighter than in recent weeks. While we continue to "rebuild", the leading lights of the Premiership forge ahead - witness the outfield quality on the visiting bench tonight - Ljungberg, Wiltord, Grimandi and Kanu.
As far as Newcastle is concerned, some of the raw materials are there, but the spark is required. Much work to be done methinks, to even retain our mid-table position next season.
With one home game remaining before this
season is consigned to the memory banks, there was an air of affirmation
about the evening and something intangible being restored. A final day
victory would leave a better taste in the mouth.