By Mark Bennett in Eindhoven
Newcastle United FC manager Sir Bobby Robson insisted his side's UEFA Cup quarter-final against PSV Eindhoven will go down to the wire after the first leg finished 1-1 in the Philips stadium. "This will be close and it promises to be an exciting return leg at Saint James' Park," said Sir Bobby.
PSV dominated possession on the night but could not create sufficient opportunities to gain an advantage for the return leg. Instead it is Newcastle that have the edge after a Jermaine Jenas equaliser to Mateja Kezman's early strike gave the Premiership club a crucial away goal.
Sir Bobby was on familiar territory, visiting the club which he coached in the 1990s, and he had the first say at the press conference. The 71-year-old immediately showed that he enjoyed being back in Eindhoven. "I have never seen so many people at a PSV press conference and I hope Eindhoven asked you all to pay because it would have made them a fortune," he joked.
On a more serious note, the Newcastle boss insisted that he was very pleased with the result on the night. "
I do not think we deserved to win here, but I do feel we deserved the draw and getting an away goal is always good," he added. "Nonetheless the tie is still wide open. I said that before the match and I have not changed my mind."
Sir Bobby continued by singling out his defence for special praise. He said: "I must compliment the back four because they did well out there. They held their line well and were very good in the air. I know we conceded a goal, but a 1-1 draw away from home in a competition like this is always a good result."
Besides expressing his satisfaction in Newcastle's performance, Sir Bobby also underlined his admiration for Kezman's opening goal: "It just shows what a class act he is," the visiting coach said. "He hustled Aaron Hughes off the ball, settled himself well and made no mistake from inside the area. It was definitely a good goal."
PSV coach Guus Hiddink felt his side should have made more of their first-half possession. He said: "I think Bobby basically got it right although it did seem a different game at times. I felt we did very well indeed in the first half and we were very unlucky to concede a goal in the dying seconds," said Hiddink.
However, despite seeing Jenas head in after a Laurent Robert corner, the Dutch coach is positive that his side still has a good chance of reaching the UEFA Cup semi-finals. "Conceding a goal at home is never a good thing, but we showed everyone that we can hold our own against Newcastle," he said. "
This tie is far from over and we will fight hard for our chance to go through to the next round."
Perhaps steeling himself for Wednesday's second leg, Hiddink went on to explain that his side's biggest problem was the constant threat posed by Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer. He said: "We wanted to get another goal after the break and we kept pushing players forward. But at the same time we were not allowed to drop our guard completely because everybody knows what the Newcastle strikers can do to you if you give them the chance."
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