Champions League not just for experience

Last updated : 08 April 2002 By Luke Thornhill
"I don't want us just to get into the Champions League for the experience. I want us to play against Europe's top clubs and win," said Speed today.

"That means further strengthening of a squad which is already one of the strongest there has been in my time at St James' Park."

Bobby Robson has assembled a strong squad in the North East, and Speed recognises that he is laying the long-term foundations for success.

He highlighted the capture of Jermaine Jenas from Nottingham Forest as an example of Robson's forward thinking.

"JJ is still young but isn't overawed by anything and he has a great chance of making it as a top player," he said.

"He's never going to get carried away and because of that I can see him going a very long way.

"If Bobby can keep the young lads at this club together then regular European football can become a reality."