Roeder hails Sibierski as Newcastle progress

November 24, 2006

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder saw Antoine Sibierski enhance his bargain status as the Magpies clinched their place in the last 32 of this season's UEFA Cup.

Local boy Steven Taylor may have grabbed the 86th-minute winner, his first goal for the club, but it was the 32-year-old Frenchman who dragged Roeder's men back into the tie after the Spaniards had taken a ninth-minute lead.

Sibierski's fourth strike for the club, and his third in Europe, served as further justification of Roeder's decision to snap him up on a free transfer from Manchester City during the summer.

Roeder said: 'He is a very modest man and a lovely man to work with. He is a fantastic professional who lives the right way and plays the sort of technical game Newcastle United supporters like to see.

'I guess with those supporters who did not know too much about him, he started from a point that if he did not cost any money, he would not be too good.

'But I remember Sibierski from when I watched him at Lens when I was at West Ham, and I came very close to buying him then, so I knew what I was taking.

'I felt very fortunate not having to pay any money at all for his services.

'He is proving he is a very valuable member of our squad. He has chipped in with some hugely important goals, especially in Europe.'

Sibierski's goal arrived on 36 minutes when he headed a James Milner cross past goalkeeper Esteban Suarez to cancel out Fabian Canobbio's sweetly-struck opener.

The game looked to be heading for a draw until Taylor powered home an Albert Luque corner to snatch all three points.

The Magpies now head for Eintracht Frankfurt next week six points clear at the top of Group H and needing only a draw to guarantee they finish there.

The fact they have done it without so many senior players makes the achievement all the more creditable.

Roeder said: 'It is nice to see when you give other players an opportunity to take up the challenge.

'All three victories have been deserved and it would be unfair to the players who have played to say that if other players who are injured had been available, they would have done any better because, of course, they could not have done any better.

'They have played three, won three. That is the ultimate, nine points from three games.

'The boys who have played have deserved it.'

Roeder's attention turned swiftly to Sunday's Barclays Premiership clash with Portsmouth and the business of collecting vital league points, although that will happen without midfielder Damien Duff, who yesterday underwent surgery to repair his damaged knee cartilage.

The manager said: 'We can put tonight's game to bed and we must now prepare for Sunday. Yet again, because we are playing every three or four days, we will have half an eye on the game in Germany next week.

'But all our thoughts at the moment are 100% concentrated on beating Portsmouth.'