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Newcastle need to deliver

Published: Monday 30 September 2002, 18.50CET
Juventus FC striker Alessandro Del Piero has warned against taking Newcastle United FC lightly.

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Published: Monday 30 September 2002, 18.50CET

Newcastle need to deliver

Juventus FC striker Alessandro Del Piero has warned against taking Newcastle United FC lightly.

By Marcus Christenson

Juventus FC striker Alessandro Del Piero has warned his side not to underestimate Tuesday night's UEFA Champions League opponents Newcastle United FC despite the English side's failure to pick up a single point from their first two games.

England memory
The match will be an emotional return to the Stadio Delle Alpi for Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson who, with England, lost a FIFA World Cup semi-final there on penalties against Germany in 1990. Regardless of the history, Del Piero said Newcastle would be fired up when Group E's bottom club face the leaders.

'No easy games'
"There are no easy games in Europe these days and Tuesday's game is very important for us," said Del Piero. "They [Newcastle] haven't had a great start so they will want to make amends but it is very important for us to win because that would see us take a big step towards qualification to the second stage."

'Very focused'
The Italian international added: "We have to be very focused on the night, very motivated and very enthusiastic." Juventus have certainly done just that in their first two Champions League outings, earning a 1-1 draw in Rotterdam against Feyenoord before beating FC Dynamo Kyiv 5-0 last week.

Trezeguet waiting
The in-form Del Piero will lead the attack with Marco Di Vaio the favourite to partner him while David Trezeguet and Marcelo Salas wait on the bench. Trezeguet has been out for almost two months with a knee injury, but played for 20 minutes against Dynamo. Igor Tudor could also return to start the game in central midfield in the likely absence of Alessio Tacchinardi.

Shearer threat
Juventus coach Marcello Lippi said his team would face tough opposition, despite Newcastle's mixed start to the season. "With a player such as Alan Shearer, who is a big, strong player with lots of international experience, and a quick midfield with players such as [Nolberto] Solano, [Kieron] Dyer and [Hugo] Viana, you have to be very careful," he said.

'We have to win'
Newcastle lost their first two games against Dynamo and Feyenoord but captain Shearer believes his team can get a result. He said: "Juventus have a great team with great players such as Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet but we haven't gone to Torino just to make up the numbers. We have to try to win against Juventus in order to stay in the Champions League."

Bellamy banned
Shearer could be employed as a lone striker as fellow attacker Craig Bellamy starts a three-game suspension, although Robson could also opt to play Shola Ameobi or Lomano Lua Lua alongside the former England striker. 


Last updated: 01/10/02 22.14CET