Owen did today what we bought him for, three years ago from Real Madrid – to score the winning goal for us to get us all 3 points.
Shay Given – brilliant penalty save changed game
Michael had been on the field only 20 minutes when he proved again to any doubters that he still has that knack of being in the right place at the right time.
He got on the end of a nice Geremi cross to head in what proved to be the winner after 71 minutes of a hard fought game at St. James’ Park this afternoon.
Kevin Keegan was naturally delighted at the goal and the result as he talked about Michael after the game:
“He’s a class player with a great goal record, he was 75 percent fit, and I was going to put him on for the last 15 minutes if we got on Easy Street, which we were never likely to be today.”
“I had both my forwards (Damien Duff and Martins) injured and could only have used Alan Smith in a crisis. Michael just said: `Give me a long warm-up.’ I gave him 20 seconds – and he went on!”
“Then he did what he does better than anybody in the world. It was a great cross by Geremi – and this guy does deliver quality.”
And don’t let anybody tell you that the Newcastle club means nothing these days to Owen, as he showed his obvious delight after scoring – he’s our captain after all – another master appointment by Keegan.
Shay Given, who is back to his very best now, was named the Man Of The Match today, and he superbly saved Nolan’s penalty, low to his left.
“Shay came back from a life/career-threatening injury. How he played, I don’t know.”
“We sent him to Germany and they did a wonderful job. He’s come back and he’s a `young’ keeper when there are guys like David James (38), Van Der Sar (37) and Brad Friedel (37).”
“There’s still a lot ahead of Shay – but he was brilliant today.”
And Keegan, obviously pleased with another job done by his team added:
“It was always going to take something to get us going and to get the crowd going. “For some reason we didn’t pass it as well as we can. We had one or two players just not seeing things as well as they normally do.”
“We were stop-start. So, yes, the penalty save got the game going and got the crowd going. Normally it’s a great pass or individual class or a shot that hits the bar or something, but today it was the penalty save.”
“We have won a game that we were never really looking like we were going to win. To get three points is a bonus.”
A win is a win, and a good team finds some way to win, even when they’re not at their best and things don’t particularly go their way.
That’s what Newcastle did today – and let’s give the lads the credit for getting the job done – for a second week running.