Roeder happy with mis-firing Martins

September 14, 2006

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder has promised that £10million striker Obafemi Martins will rediscover his touch in front of goal.

The 21-year-old Nigerian is still awaiting his first strike for the club after three games, and it was left to debutant Antoine Sibierski to claim victory over Levadia Tallinn in tonight's UEFA Cup clash.

Sibierski edged the Magpies towards the group stage of the competition with a 10th-minute header at the Le Coq Arena, but Martins, despite looking sharper, was left to rue a series of missed opportunities to open his account in the first-leg clash.

Roeder said: 'I have no concerns whatsoever. I see him every day in training and I watch him practice and trust me, his finishing is deadly.

'It's just getting the first one which often is the most difficult. But when he gets that first one and he gets more used to playing with us and us with him, I am sure the goals will come on a regular basis.

'He is a young player and he is a player that although he has come from a big club like Inter Milan, he was not always used there as a number-one striker, which he is going to be at Newcastle.

'That is an extra responsibility, but I am sure in the coming months, he will take that extra responsibility on board and with that, he will score the goals as well that I know he can.'

Roeder was happy enough with the result, but admitted he had been concerned at how several of his players appeared to tire after the break.

He said: 'I am satisfied with the result, the same as the result when we went to Latvia (in the last round).

'We have got an away goal and a clean sheet, which was vital for us tonight for obvious reasons.

'The first-half performance was very good, but in the second half you have to say that at times, we did not look as sharp as you would expect us to be.

'I do not make excuses, but you have got to look for reasons. We looked at our travel arrangements and we have been out here for two days like we did when we went to Ventspils and looked full or energy throughout the game.

'But tonight, five or six players looked tired with 20 minutes to go, which is quite unusual. But when we had to defend, we defended a lot better tonight.'

Roeder lost Titus Bramble to knee and ankle injuries nine minutes before the break, and although he has been reassured that the damage is not serious, he admitted he could miss Sunday's Barclays Premiership trip to West Ham.

Levadia coach Tarmo Ruutli was pleased with his side's performance and promised Newcastle an equally tough game in the second leg at St James' Park in a fortnight's time.

He said: 'Yes, there is a chance. We will try to score away and to keep a clean sheet. This is our chance.

'Newcastle are strong at home, but on the other hand, they had a goalless draw against (Latvian side) Ventspils (in the last round), so that Baltic experience is something we should call upon.

'Of course we wished to score a goal, but unfortunately, the chances we created, we could not score from.

'The opponents were mostly thinking about the win without expending to much effort for it and in that, they succeeded.'

Meanwhile, Roeder confirmed there had been no developments in number two Kevin Bond's situation.