Roeder "No Back Door This Time"

Last updated : 23 December 2006 By Footy Mad - Editor

... I'm sure he would rather have Newcastle qualify for Europe the usual route rather than the back door like this season.

The Magpies have recovered from a dreadful start to the campaign and the gaffa strongly believes the UEFA Cup is within reach.

Roeder: "Football by its nature, if you start looking too far ahead, has got a bad habit of giving you a slap and knocking you back down. But obviously you always have half an eye on where you would like to finish at the end of the season.

"I do not see why from where we are at the moment - especially if we win on Saturday - we should not seriously start thinking about getting ourselves back into automatic qualification for the UEFA Cup so, whatever happens in that competition this year, Newcastle are back in Europe next year.

"But that is a way off at the moment, there are far too many games to go.

"Tottenham only lost the final Champions League place on the last day of the season, which was very unfortunate for them, while we had such a great finish, pulling up to seventh and Intertoto qualification.

"Both sets of supporters would have expected both clubs to have done a little bit better in the Premiership. But as far as we are concerned, everyone knows the problems we have had and we have coped with them unbelievably well to have gone on the run we have had recently.

"But at the moment, the neutrals would be thinking both Spurs and Newcastle should be, come the end of the season, very much entrenched in the top half of the table and maybe just outside the top four.

"In fact, Martin Jol will probably be looking for a top four finish and it is up to us to make sure we halt that movement towards the top four on Saturday by taking three points."