WORTH THE WIN
Paul Robinson believes the team fully deserved the three-point haul from the trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday, but would have preferred a more routine afternoon.
Paul Robinson believes the team fully deserved the three-point haul from the trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday, but would have preferred a more routine afternoon.It looked like it might be when Dimitar Berbatov doubled the first half advantage provided by Robbie Keane with a brilliant volley, but Boro responded and cut the deficit before Robbie profited from Aaron Lennon's cross to knock in his second of the game. The story was not quite over and there was another goal for the home side, but the points were banked leaving the team well placed to realise our European ambitions in terms of finishing position.
"I thought it was a good performance and the most important thing was the victory, but we never seem to make it easy for ourselves," reflected Robbo after the game. "We were looking comfortable at and 3-1 and then let them back into the game again, but overall we are very pleased with the result."
It was a save from Robbo that was perhaps a turning point in the game. Mark Viduka had just made it 2-1 before George Boateng rolled the ball into the path of the Australian striker moments later. The striker drilled goalwards probably fully expecting to wheel away in celebration, but the reflexes of the England No.1 kept our lead in tact with a stunning stop.
"I was pleased to make it," he added with a hint of understatement. "We do a lot of work on the reaction stuff in training with my coach Hans and it was good that it paid off. It was an important stage of the game, just after they had got one back, so I am pleased I was able to do my bit.
"The win was vital because, if you look at the teams around us, apart from Everton everyone got a good result. So it was massively important for us to pick up three points again.
"We know what is needed, after this season it would be hugely disappointing not to play European football again next season."
Robbo concluded by admitting that Dimitar Berbatov hitting the ball first time for his goal was not the favoured option in his mind as he watched the action unfold from the other end.
"Berba's strike was half-decent... The ball came over to him and I was thinking 'what's he doing? Don't hit that!', but it turned out to be a great goal."
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