Newcastle reaction

Saturday 17 November 2001

Newcastle boss Bobby Robson was at a loss to explain his side's woeful record in London after watching Fulham's 3-1 victory at Craven Cottage stretch their winless streak to 27 games.

Former Magpie Louis Saha was among the scorers as Robson returned to the club he both managed and played for, while a penalty miss from Alan Shearer contributed to the defeat which leaves Newcastle without a win in the capital for four years.

Robson said: "It's mysterious how we never seem to be able to get a result in London. I don't have a phobia about it - and we thought today would be the day we would put a stop to it.

"We were quite confident, but somehow it just went wrong. I thought we were well on the way to getting a result in the first 20 minutes. Saha's goal wasn't made by any clever play, as he just picked a loose
ball in midfield.

"We didn't press him and he had five seconds to turn on it and get a sight of goal. He hit a majestic shot and it was a marvellous goal."

Robson felt that his side should have been awarded a second penalty when Alain Goma clashed with Shearer as the striker tried to convert his original spot-kick at the second attempt.

He raged: "It was twice the penalty of the original decision. It was clear cut.
"Shearer was bundled off the ball attempting to lay it into an empty net. Their man took his legs completely and could have been sent off."

Robson's Fulham counterpart Jean Tigana said he was thinking of adding to his squad ahead of a month featuring games against Leeds and Manchester United.

He said: "December is a big month as we have seven games. We need a big squad, and if it's possible to buy one good, young player - why not?

"I would like my team to finish between eighth and 12th, but the priority for the club is to stay at the top level. My vision is to get 41 points. We'll try to get those points _ and then it's possible to dream about more than that.

"We try and play very well, but it's difficult to win all the time. Many of my players have never played at the top level, and you need to play to learn.

"It was a big mistake to lose points against Charlton and Ipswich (both 1-1 draws), but now my team is playing very well. I'm happy today because we played a very strong team, and when we lead 2-0 I was very relaxed on the bench."