Date: 9th March 2007 at 10:13am
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Despite the scoreline dividing them last night both bosses were full of plaudits for the Super Eagles striker. GR said:

“What he has grown into is becoming a Newcastle United player. He came from Inter Milan and I said from the very beginning, when he was not scoring goals, the culture of Italy, the culture of living in Milan would be slightly different to living in Newcastle. He had to get used to living here first of all, then he had to get used to playing in the Premiership, which is nothing like Serie A. He was always going to take time to settle in. This is no criticism of Andriy Shevchenko because he is a world-class footballer, but he is 29, 30 years old and look how hard he has found it to adjust to the Premiership.

Whatever you say he can do and cannot do, Oba can score goals, and that is what I want my strikers to do. That is what they are paid to do, score goals. They are not paid to run around like headless chickens and chip in with one goal here and one goal there. I want my strikers to score goals, and he is doing that very well – and, whatever he does this season, he will do even more next year.’

Van Gaal also subscribed to this view saying:

‘We have seen the confirmation. I know the quality of my own players, but I also know the quality of Obafemi Martins. There were times when he might have done even better, but I have to say every shot on goal was a goal in the first half. I had the feeling in the second half we could come closer to Newcastle. The only had one chance – and it was Martins again – but we had a few chances.’