The players were naturally up for it too because that game, just like tonight's meeting with Newcastle, remains as crucial as anything else that we seek to achieve this season because we are also determined to go all the way in the FA Cup and also need to start picking up Premiership points.
In addition, we would have preferred not to have to play another midweek game in what is a busy schedule for us. However, at least we've had the short term bonus of our players having a bit of a break to re-charge and rest a few aches and strains.
But what a great night we all shared here on the previous Wednesday. I can honestly say that our tremendous Worthington Cup victory over Chelsea ranks alongside anything that I have experienced here in my time as a player. And now we head for Cardiff with great confidence.
True, we still have it all to do with a difficult final to come against Blackburn but that can wait.
We hit the high notes against Chelsea and, as I said afterwards, if you are going to nail a dismal record, then you might as well do it in style. That’s exactly what we did and some of our football was superb. All our goals were well crafted and the fact that they were scored by five different players illustrates our ability to hit opponents from all sides.
There were some fine individual performances moulded into a fine team effort in which everyone worked for everyone else. It was without doubt our best showing of the season and if we continue to demonstrate that unity, belief and determination, then we won’t go far wrong.
Just as important, the game was played in an electric atmosphere that really contributed to our success. Never underestimate the part that you can play in a game because your efforts almost lifted the roof and certainly lifted our players. If you could do that week in week out then it would be like a goal start.
We knew that we needed an early goal and once that was achieved, we just grew in stature and did a thorough, professional job on a very good side. It is a night that will be remembered here for a long time.
But now we have to ensure that it is not a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ this evening. Cardiff must wait because nothing less than 100% concentration and determination will do against a good Newcastle side tonight. They negotiated their way through a difficult Cup tie at Peterborough and remain well in contention at the top of the table.
As I say, we too want to start climbing the Premiership table again but in welcoming Bobby Robson and all from Newcastle we do in the knowledge that they will present a severe hurdle for us to overcome.
We played well, as any side would have to, when we beat United 2-0 at St. James’ Park in October, particularly in the first half when we looked balanced and creative. We showed a lot of good movement in our play and our possession inevitably led to good openings.
You always know that you will come under pressure at some stage at Newcastle and when that happened we dug in and defended well. I cannot see tonight's game being any different.
We made it a marvellous double Cup celebration in midweek when our youngsters returned from Bolton with an impressive 2-1 victory in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. Congratulations to Pat Holland and to all concerned. They now travel to Leeds United in the next round.
We have some excellent young lads in our Academy and their progress should guarantee an excellent future. But progress is the key at senior and junior levels and that’s what we must maintain tonight.
Once again, on behalf of all the players, thank you for your excellent support against Chelsea. Let’s do it all againÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦againÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦and again!
It was a shame that Saturday's FA Cup tie with Bolton had to be postponed because, although there was a lot of water on the White Hart Lane pitch, we were ready to play.