Martins will come good, insist Roeder

September 11, 2006

Newcastle United boss Glenn Roeder has urged the club's fans to give £10million striker Obafemi Martins time to prove his worth.

The 21-year-old Nigerian struggled to impose himself on the game as the Magpies surrendered a 1-0 lead in the final eight minutes to lose 2-1 at home to Fulham on Saturday.

Two games into his career in England, Martins has yet to make an impact.

However, Roeder is hoping supporters who have seen recent big-money arrivals Albert Luque and Jean-Alain Boumsong fail to live up to their price tags will remain patient with the former Inter Milan hitman.

He said: 'There are a couple of things we have to take into consideration: he is trying to regain full physical fitness from when he arrived from Italy having been unwell for two weeks with flu.

'I never expected him to get through 90 minutes - I always thought he would do well to last 70 minutes or so.

'He has come from Serie A. We have got to be patient.

'It will take him a little bit of time to settle into the high tempo of the Premiership, but I saw enough promise from him that when he plays with Shola Ameobi, there is going to be a successful partnership there.'

With Alan Shearer having retired and Michael Owen facing months on the sidelines following knee surgery, the pressure in on Martins, Ameobi and loan signing Giuseppe Rossi to deliver the goals their side will need to prosper this season.

Newcastle have managed just three in as many Premiership games so far, and two of those have come from midfielder Scott Parker.

With their under-fire defence having capitulated alarmingly once again at the weekend, that is simply not enough.

The Magpies head for Estonian outfit Levadia Tallinn on Thursday evening hoping the UEFA Cup can kick-start their campaign.

And Roeder is adamant, despite his disappointment, that there is no room for despondency.

He said: 'Goals change people's opinions. Because we lost (on Saturday), it will probably be said we did not play that well when I know there were lots of times during the game when we played very well, very well indeed.

'We had good possession, we passed the ball well and there was lots of urgency in our play.

'If I was sitting here and we had won 1-0, we would be having a completely different conversation.

'But of course, it is stating the obvious that we lost two goals, we were beaten 2-1 and people feel completely different about the performance.

'But I know there were enough players out there who played very, very well.'