Keegan: Draw earns respect
Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan was happy with his side¿s character for coming back from two goals down against West Ham
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 26/04/08 10:05pm
Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan was happy with his side's character in coming back from two goals down away at West Ham.
The former England manager admitted his team have struggled this season with the lack of squad members, but he is looking forward to building on that with his first XI impressing against the Hammer.
"We've come in at half-time and we've told the players the truth - we've been awful and we're 2-2," he told Sky Sports.
"Second half we were much better, we had two very young men playing centre backs today against some experienced players and so we knew we might have some problems.
"But they came through it second half, fought their way back, showed a lot of character, something again earlier in the season that they might have been questioned on."
West Ham took an early two-goal lead when Noble guided the ball past Steve Harper in the 10th minute and then Dean Ashton fired home a superb strike to give the Magpies an uphill task with an hour of the game to go.
Joey Barton then found himself in space and lofted a through ball into the feet of Obafemi Martins who delightfully chipped the ball over Robert Green. Moments later Geremi's header made it two just before the half-time whistle.
The second-half failed to mirror the frantic finish of the first, and the away side's solid second-half performance was marred by the head injury sustained by youngster David Edgar.
The Newcastle boss said: "He's got between eight to 10 stitches... he's a real defender now he's got a cut."
With the away point the Magpies remain mid-table and Keegan feels his side can work on bolstering their chances of a European place next year by continuing their rich vein of form and end the season on a high.
"Our goals are to keep building, keep going forward, keep giving an account of ourselves and to earn a bit of respect.
"That's what this league's like if you don't have that bit of respect, they'll have you and I think we're starting to earn that with the players we've got, with their attitude," he said.
Newcastle's next game is against Chelsea - a game that could prove decisive in which way the nail-biting title race will swing.
When asked about the championship, he said: "It's only nice to have a say in the title race when you're involved, that's the best way.
"As is always right we'll do everything we can to win a game and if we do, Manchester United will be champions and so be it."