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Robson praises golden oldies

April 15, 2004 17:11 IST

Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson has praised his golden oldies after goals from Gary Speed and Alan Shearer secured a UEFA Cup semi-final place for their side at the expense of PSV Eindhoven.

Robson, speaking after his premier league side had completed a 3-2 victory on aggregate over the Dutch at St James' Park on Wednesday, paid tribute to the experienced campaigners who have set up a semi-final with French team Olympique Marseille.

Speed scored the 66th-minute winner after Mateja Kezman had equalised from the penalty spot as PSV recovered from going a goal behind in the ninth minute to a trademark Shearer header.

"I'm an old, old timer but we had two old-timers out there who did really well for us," the 71-year-old told reporters.

"Alan's headed goal was a classic Shearer goal. He lost his marker and kept his eye on the ball before guiding it past the keeper. Gary's goal was more spectacular. It was also one of the best goals he's scored and one of the most important as well.

"Gary rose bravely with a prodigious leap and buried the ball but he's been doing that all his career. He has had a marvellous season for us in the way he has soldiered on and in that way he's our most important player."

Robson added: "It was a very close game but it was always absorbing. I knew that just one goal was going to decide it but in the closing stages all it needed was one mistake and they (PSV) could have been on their way to the semi-finals.

"That's why it was so absorbing."

On the prospect of facing Marseille, he said: "Marseille will be a difficult hurdle to overcome. They've just won against Inter Milan home and away and you cannot beat that. We can't think about the final because they will be tough opponents."

PSV coach Guus Hiddink said: "It will be a 50-50 game. Marseille will be tough opponents and they have very good, fast strikers."

Hiddink added with a smile that he wanted former PSV coach Robson, to be successful: "I would have liked to have got to the last four myself rather than Bobby but when I look at the teams who are still in the competition I think: 'Okay, let Bobby go through to the final' ".

He was less happy with his side's efforts against Newcastle, though. "We knew Newcastle would be strong at corners and free kicks but we conceded two goals that came from corners that were conceded too easily."

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