Jacques Santini confirmed himself a big admirer of Sir Bobby Robson ahead of our visit to St James Park to face Newcastle on Saturday.
While Jacques says he does not personally know the grand old man of English football, he is very aware of Robson's achievements over a career that has seen him serve clubs such as Ipswich, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona and Newcastle.
"I know Bobby Robson's career," said the Head Coach. "He is a big man. I don't know if I'll be Head Coach of a team when I'm 72. He is a big man in all aspects - sporting, education, mentality, in the public domain.
"It will be a big pleasure for me to see Mr Robson at Saturday's game. I know for me and for my team it will be a very hard game. It is a magnificent stadium, St James Park, it made quite an impression on me when I watched the England game on television on Wednesday night. I am very impressed with Mr Robson."
Meanwhile, Jacques added that it will be a little while before he is able to make a real assessment of his team due to an injury-interupted pre-season campaign, the introduction of new players and international breaks.
"We have very good players but football is a collective sport and to play well together we need three, four, five weeks to work together.
"It has been difficult. This week we've been without the international players for training, next week it is not possible to train much because we have three games in a week and the first week of September we are back to the same situation as this week because the national teams play again and maybe we'll be without eight, nine, ten players again.
"We just haven't had time to prepare together. We have a new team, young players and when nine players are not with the team for training - like this week - it is difficult."