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MARTIN ON THE RUN-IN

Posted on 6 April 2006  - 12:00

Martin Jol believes there is plenty of positive mileage left in our seasonal run-in as long as the mistakes that cost us at Newcastle are cut out.

Martin Jol believes there is plenty of positive mileage left in our seasonal run-in as long as the mistakes that cost us at Newcastle are cut out.

Encounters with Manchester City - next on Saturday at the Lane - Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal, Bolton and West Ham remain for us this season, with the team still sitting fourth in the Premiership standings.

Blackburn, in 6th, are now two points behind on level games following their draw with Wigan on Monday, while Bolton are now seven points adrift with one game in hand after suffering defeat in their last two outings. Arsenal, at the moment, could overhaul us as they are two points behind in 5th place with a game in hand.

"If we had won I think we could have been in Europe because the gap with Bolton would have been big, but it didn't happen and that is maybe the story of the season," reasoned the Head Coach looking back on the Newcastle game.

"Sometimes we show a lot of character and come back, but sometimes we can look a different side. We can lack a rhythm, Anthony Gardner came back strongly in the second half but he lacked rhythm in the first. N'Zogbia proved a handful for Stephen Kelly because we didn't protect each other - you have to do that and keep your shape."

Martin added that the team must shake off the gloom of the St James Park setback and get on with the business of putting it right from the off against City on Saturday lunchtime.

"That is what I said after the match. I wasn't happy at half-time or at full-time but we did manage to keep it goalless in the second half with ten men, although it means nothing because a games last 90 minutes.

"You have to start games at 100 per cent or you will not get results. You can't give a team like Newcastle three goals because it means you have not been defensively strong and that is what we want to be - we want to be a team who are tough to beat.

"We usually are but we weren't on Saturday, certainly not."