Speed on tactics

Last updated : 23 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The Welshman believes that last season’s European campaign is an indication that the team is capable of breaking down stubborn defences, but realises that kind of form has to be rediscovered quickly.

He told The Journal: "This team's success has always been founded on hard work and there are no shirkers. What has changed is that our opponents know what our strengths are and they're not allowing us to get behind the back four.

"We understand that and we are working around the clock to combat it. It's a matter of breaking these teams down but we have to accept the fact that we've become victims of our own success.

"People are only interested in getting a draw when they come to St James's Park but sides like Manchester United and Arsenal are used to that problem and have learnt how to overcome it. If we want to be competing with those two then it's a lesson we need to learn.

"Perhaps we should look back to our best nights in the Champions League. In Europe that style of football is the norm and although we struggled to come to terms with teams sitting back at home and away, we eventually found a way to win.

"We know we have it within us to do the same again this season."