Roeder defends selection
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Glenn Roeder has defended his decision to relegate Obafemi Martins to the bench.
Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder has defended his decision to relegate Obafemi Martins to the bench for Sunday's defeat at Manchester United.
The Red Devils ran out easy winners at Old Trafford, as Newcastle failed to stifle the home side's attacking threat.
Shola Ameobi looked a forlorn figure up front, as he played without success and support as midweek Uefa Cup hero Martins kicked his heels on the bench.
Martins came on with Newcastle already 2-0 down and he could do nothing to change the course of the match.
Roeder felt he was correct to play a 4-5-1 formation and would not change style even with the benefit of hindsight.
"The thinking there is quite simple, we wanted a physical presence," Roeder told Sky Sports News of his decision to leave Martins on the bench. "Shola Ameobi has got a physical presence and when you are up front on your own you need that.
"He (Martins) has had a lot of games recently and I decided to rest him knowing he would get on the pitch at some time in the second half hoping we would be in a position to get something from the game
"As far as I am concerned it would have been ridiculous to come and play an open 4-4-2 with the movement United have now.
"We set out with a particular game plan. Very few teams will come to Old Trafford and consistently take them on and attack them.
"We came to contain them and I though we were doing well. But the goal we have conceded, four minutes before half time puts a different picture on things and then we go and concede four minutes after half time which effectively made it nigh-on impossible to get anything from the game.
"The boys worked as hard as they could, they were dogged without having any outstanding performances. Steve Harper made some good saves and that will have given him a big lift.
"It is disappointing to lose 2-0, but that is in the past and we now have to look to Bolton in two weeks' time."
Newcastle paid the price for some sloppy defending, as both goals could have been prevented, and Roeder was not prepared to gloss over the issue.
"The first goal came from a corner that was given away needlessly, it was a silly corner and it should have been a ball that was cleared downfield," added Roeder.
"Had we done that and kept them out, we would have come in at half time at 0-0 and we'd have been delighted.
"Two minutes into the second half we committed suicide with a downward header that should have gone upwards, Vidic had the shot and Steve said he had it covered, but Solksjaer got the touch and that was 2-0.
"We weren't going to throw caution to the wind straight after half time, but we found ourselves two goals down very quickly through a really poor piece of defending."