Date: 5th March 2007 at 12:19pm
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On the full backs:

“We have seen plenty of times Nobby great positional sense. There were a number of times when Downing, who I rate highly, tried to beat him and knocked it against Nobby’s legs. People talk about Nobby’s lack of pace but forget about his brain. Brain overcame speed on Saturday, his positional sense was fantastic. As for Steven Taylor, for young players, it’s part of their education to play in different positions. He is a right-footed player playing left-back and he coped well. He is very enthusiastic and has lots of defending instincts. Steven will have a long successful career at Newcastle. But he is nowhere near the finished article yet. He has to keep listening and watching. I’ve told him he should be modelling himself on John Terry in particular.’

On Woodgate:

“What he has done this year would suggest, at this moment, he is injury-free. Nevertheless, the injuries he has had, you never know. You never know the amount of damage he has done will not one day reappear.”

On Thursday:

“It was pleasing to get a clean sheet. But we have had false dawns before so, until we have put a run together, I reserve judgement. It has to start somewhere and Thursday will be a hell of a test. I’m glad I went to see AZ against Utrecht last week. I bumped into (former Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder) Johnny Metgod, who I know well, and he gave me a good run-down on AZ. He told me their best form of defence is attack so I expect it will be an open game on Thursday. When you look at the last round, they had a 3-3 in Istanbul against Fenerbahçe and a 2-2 at home. Without doubt they are the best team we have faced in the Uefa Cup. I’m really looking forward to it.’